After testing 25 keyboards over the past two years, we found that the Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard is the best for most people. It’s the first to meet all the requirements of a great multiuse Bluetooth keyboard—comfortable, compact, and versatile—for less than $50. The K380 is almost as great as our long-standing previous pick (which we still love—it’s our new upgrade pick), but it costs less than half as much.
Our pick can pair with up to three devices and switch between them with the press of a button, a useful feature that few Bluetooth keyboards have. The K380 is comfortable and responsive; it’s also solid enough for desktop or lap use, while being small and light enough for you to slip in a bag and use on the go. Logitech says our pick has up to two years of battery life with heavy use (defined as eight hours a day, five days a week), though the keyboard hasn’t existed long enough for us to test that claim. The K380’s unusual, round keys can take some getting used to, and the keyboard lacks backlit keys as well as the operating-system-specific layouts you’ll find on our upgrade picks, but those amenities aren’t available on other keyboards in this price category either.
If our pick is sold out, we recommend waiting for a restock; we’ve found nothing else out there with the K380’s excellent balance of price and features. If you can’t wait, any of our upgrade, full-size, budget, or portable options below may fit your needs.
If you spend all day typing, consider Logitech’s Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboards (for Mac and Windows). They were our top picks for years, and they have long been the gold standard for Bluetooth keyboards because of their smooth, well-spaced keys, their adjustable key backlighting, their platform-specific layouts for Mac and Windows, and their ability to switch instantly between multiple paired devices, such as your computer, phone, and tablet. But we don’t recommend them for most people anymore because they’re expensive: The street price for each usually runs between $60 and $100. After spending months with both versions and our new top pick, we think the K380 is about 80 percent as good as our former picks for just 40 percent of the price.
If you need a keyboard with a built-in number pad, we suggest the Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard. The K780 is very similar to the K380—offering the same round keys, multiple-device pairing, and estimated two years of battery life—but adds a number pad and a built-in stand for smartphones and tablets. It shares some of the K380’s flaws, too, namely a lack of backlighting and only one layout. The K780 also comes with Logitech’s USB Unifying wireless dongle (it’s the only Bluetooth keyboard we’ve tested so far with this option), so you can connect it to a computer without Bluetooth if you need to.
If you’re on a budget, the Anker Ultra Compact Bluetooth Keyboard is the best option. It costs about half as much as our pick but also feels like it. This Anker model can’t pair with and switch between multiple devices, and it has clackier, less comfortable keys. But every key is in the correct spot, and it doesn’t drop any keystrokes. In short, this Anker keyboard provides a decent typing experience, and that’s all you can expect from a Bluetooth keyboard for about $20. If possible, though, you should save up and get the Logitech K380.
The best portable keyboard to throw in a bag and take with you is the Logitech Keys-To-Go (for Mac and Windows). It’s thinner and lighter than all the other keyboards we tested, yet it doesn’t sacrifice full-size, well-spaced keys, and it offers the bonus of being spill resistant. The Keys-To-Go has slightly mushy keys, quiet typing feedback, and a strange, fabricky texture that may be off-putting to some, but those are worthwhile trade-offs for such a thin, durable Bluetooth keyboard.
Ergonomic keyboards—designed to relieve hand, arm, and shoulder pain—aren’t for everyone. But if you want a fully split, ergonomic keyboard that connects via Bluetooth, get the Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue and the VIP3 accessory. The keyboard is available in layouts for macOS and Windows, and either version can pair with up to three devices. The Freestyle2 Blue offers deeper key travel than the Logitech K380 or Easy-Switch keyboards. Its keys aren’t as crisp as those of the other ergonomic keyboards we tested, however, and the Freestyle2 Blue doesn’t do negative tilting. If you’re looking for a great ergonomic keyboard in particular (and don’t need Bluetooth), head over to our full guide.
I’ve tested, lived with, and reviewed hundreds of computer accessories, and I’ve been typing daily since I encountered a VTech keyboard and learned to touch-type back in the fourth grade.
For this guide, we spoke to experts with more than a decade of combined experience testing and reviewing Bluetooth keyboards to find out what makes a great one. Then we came up with a list of 50 or so Bluetooth keyboards worth looking into.
After narrowing things down, I tested 25 Bluetooth keyboards with the help of four panelists with varying typing techniques and skill levels, as well as numerous innocent bystanders whose opinions I solicited. The panel helped me test keyboards across multiple operating systems and workflows, since everyone uses their keyboard differently. In addition to panel testing, I spent months using the most promising Bluetooth keyboards for daily work. I even wrote each section of this guide with its corresponding keyboard.
A Bluetooth keyboard is a great option if you need a keyboard that can connect to any type of device—desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, television—or if you want wireless but hate the USB dongle that comes with traditional wireless keyboards. Some Bluetooth models, like our pick, can switch between multiple devices without your having to re-pair the keyboard. We also have recommendations for people who type all day, are on a budget, want to use their keyboard on the go, or need a fully split, ergonomic keyboard.
You shouldn’t buy a Bluetooth model if you need to use your keyboard with only a single computer and don’t mind sacrificing a USB port, because Bluetooth devices are often more expensive than alternatives that have better keys or a better design but rely on a USB dongle or a wired connection. For example, some mechanical and ergonomic keyboards are more comfortable than any of our Bluetooth picks, but they take up a USB port and can’t work with tablets or phones (without your taking drastic measures). Other wireless keyboards cost less but aren’t as portable because they’re designed for desk use and often have full-size number pads.
Finally, not all devices have Bluetooth. If you own an older desktop or laptop, it may not support the standard, so make sure to check before you buy any of our recommendations. If your computer doesn’t include Bluetooth support, you can buy a Bluetooth 4.0 dongle for about $15, but it’ll occupy a USB port on your computer.
A great Bluetooth keyboard should be easy to use. It should pair easily with all your devices, and switching between devices ought to be simple, too. We focused on Bluetooth keyboards instead of models that use the older radio-frequency (RF) wireless, because the latter type requires a USB dongle, whereas Bluetooth models can connect to any device that supports the Bluetooth standard—most computers, tablets, and phones, plus some TVs—without requiring you to give up a USB port for a dongle.
A great keyboard should also make the fewest compromises possible. It needs to be full-size, with large, well-spaced keys. The key travel and pressure necessary to activate each key should be both comfortable and satisfying. And finally—you wouldn’t think this would be a problem, but it is—all the keys need to be in the correct spots. Standard layouts differ between Windows and Mac, so it’s ideal if the manufacturer offers a version of the keyboard tailored to each OS.
Most keyboards are designed to slope upward from the front edge so that the user can see the keys better. Despite the ubiquity of this design choice, such an angle is bad for your wrists. Some studies have even shown that the most ergonomic typing position is for the keyboard to slope downward, away from your body, so that you don’t have to bend your wrists upward at all.
If you’re mostly using your Bluetooth keyboard at home on a desk, the most important factor is comfort. If it’s not significantly better than your laptop’s own keyboard, the keyboard that came with your desktop computer, or your tablet’s on-screen keyboard, it isn’t worth your money. A full-size number pad is ideal, and backlit keys are a nice bonus.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling with your keyboard, it must be compact and lightweight, and it should have a long battery life. It should also have a cover or case to protect the keycaps (or, like our portable pick, a design that protects the keys), since durability is important for a keyboard you’ll be throwing in a bag. As for comfort, a portable keyboard needs to strike a balance between portability and ergonomics. It should be small and light, but it should not cram three or more functions onto a single key or be too cramped for you to type normally. For a portable keyboard, backlit keys generally aren’t worth the trade-off in battery life.
A multipurpose Bluetooth keyboard—one that you can use at your desk, on your couch, or on an airplane—must be good at everything. Its keys should be comfortable and well-spaced, but the keyboard should also be reasonably portable and have long battery life. A budget option may sacrifice overall build quality, but it still needs well-spaced keys that aren’t miserable to type on, and all the basic functions should be in the right places.
Wireless keyboards can use built-in rechargeable batteries or swappable batteries; each kind has its advantages. Built-in batteries don’t need replacing and cause less waste, but like all good things, they must come to an end, and can be recharged only a finite number of times. When that time comes—often some years into a gadget’s life—you’ll have to replace the entire keyboard instead of just a set of batteries.
With swappable batteries, you won’t have to replace a keyboard until it’s falling apart at the seams, but you need to carry spare batteries, and if you use disposable batteries, you have to buy new ones periodically. If you use rechargeable batteries, you need two sets, or you can’t use the keyboard while the batteries are charging.
To find out what makes a great Bluetooth keyboard for our previous update, Wirecutter writer Seamus Bellamy spoke to a couple of editors with a decade of combined experience using and reviewing these devices.
One of those was Harry McCracken, a technology editor at Fast Company, who has been using an iPad paired with a keyboard case or external keyboard as his daily driver since 2011. McCracken told us his must-haves for a great Bluetooth keyboard: “Good-sized keys, similar travel and spacing between the keys. No crippling compromises in terms of putting too many functions on one key. You don’t want it to stray from a laptop’s layout.” When he first started using an iPad on a full-time basis, he was worried about keyboard battery life. “But with the good ones that are out today,” McCracken explained, “you can go weeks or maybe even months between charges.”
We tested each keyboard by using it for at least a day of heavy work involving lots and lots (and lots!) of typing. After that, we spent much more time—up to several months—using each of our picks for work. This process gave us a feel for comfort, key placement, ergonomics, and build quality.
We also asked a panel of four typists (of varying hand size, technique, and skill) to use each of the finalists for ordinary computing, as well as for the 10FastFingers typing test. We didn’t place too much significance on the typing-test results—since lots of things can influence typing speed in a 60-second test—but we did pay attention to any factors that slowed down multiple typists.
We used digital calipers to measure key travel for our finalists, but the figure wasn’t very useful because most of our finalists had similar travel distance and were better differentiated by other features.
The Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard is the first to meet all our requirements for a great Bluetooth keyboard for less than $50. The comfortable, compact, and inexpensive K380 can switch between up to three paired devices and has battery life that (Logitech claims) you can measure in years. It’s similar in design and function to our long-standing previous picks, the Easy-Switch Keyboard K810 and K811, but it has round, shallower keys and lacks backlighting. Despite those flaws, we think the K380 is about 80 percent as good as the Easy-Switch for 40 percent of the cost.
The Logitech K380 measures 10.9 inches wide, 4.9 inches deep, and 0.6 inch thick, and it weighs 15 ounces; it isn’t too large or heavy to slip in a bag and take with you. The K380’s slight slope isn’t ergonomically great for your wrists—flat would be ideal—but the angle is not as steep as on most keyboards, and it isn’t uncomfortable to use for long typing sessions.
The round keys are springy and satisfying to type on. Each key is slightly concave—except for the keys in the top and bottom rows, which are convex—so they’re more comfortable than flat slabs. During long writing marathons (such as writing this guide, in my case), the keys started to feel a little stiff and shallow, and after a full week of typing on the K380 my wrists were a bit sore. We think the Logitech K380 is comfortable and responsive enough for most people’s typing needs; if you type a lot you should consider the K810 or K811 instead. Our pick’s keys sound snappy and provide gratifying audible feedback, but they aren’t so loud or clacky as to disturb another person in the same room.
The Logitech K380’s keys are all where they ought to be and don’t feel cramped, but the round shape leaves larger gaps between the keys than traditional, square keys do. In our tests, it took a little time to get used to the key shape, and until I acclimated I found myself pressing the void between the keys by accident. After just two hours with the keyboard, however, I was back to typing at full speed, and I haven’t missed a key since. The K380’s textured plastic coating doesn’t feel cheap (unlike that of our budget pick) and doesn’t amass hand oils.
The biggest advantage the K380 has over most Bluetooth keyboards is its lengthy battery life. The K380 runs on two included AAA batteries, and Logitech told us it will last for about two years of heavy use, defined as eight hours of use a day, five days a week. We haven’t been able to test the limits of that claim, but the keyboard is still going strong after more than a year of daily work and entertainment. This result compares favorably with what we’ve experienced with our upgrade picks, which last about three weeks on a full charge whether the backlight is in use or not. You can recharge the K810 and K811 via USB and use them when they’re charging, but the K380’s impressive battery life is a huge advantage.
To pair the K380 with your device of choice, first search for Bluetooth connections on your phone, laptop, or whatever device you’re using. Then, on the K380, press and hold the numbered key you want to assign the device to until the light above it blinks rapidly. Select the keyboard on your device, type the security code as it appears on screen, and—boom!—you’re in business.
One of the K380’s best features is that it lets you pair it with up to three devices and switch to any of those instantly with the push of a button. (Our upgrade and ergonomic picks also do this.) So if you wanted to, you could use the K380 to start typing an email on your computer, switch to your smartphone to send a quick text message, switch to your Apple TV to change your background entertainment, and then swap back to your computer to finish up that email. Few keyboards do this well (most can pair with only one device at a time), and our picks are the only models that combine this convenience with comfortable, responsive keys.
The Logitech K380 comes with a one-year limited warranty; Logitech will repair, replace, or give you a refund if your keyboard is defective.
The Logitech K380 lacks a couple of features that our previous top picks (now upgrade picks) provide. First, the K380 doesn’t have different layouts for Windows and Mac—Logitech sells only one model, and it recognizes which operating system it’s connected to and remaps its keys accordingly. For example, our pick places Ctrl in the bottom-left corner with Fn immediately to the right, which is traditional for Windows keyboards but backward for Macs. This limitation is not a dealbreaker for most people, but if you can’t stand the K380’s layout, you should upgrade to the Mac-specific K811.
The Logitech K380 lacks backlit keys, but this is a necessary trade-off to achieve such long battery life. Most people don’t need to spend $20 to $60 more for a backlit keyboard, but if the feature is a requirement for you, check out our upgrade picks.
As we mention above, the K380 has round keys that take some getting used to. Most testers were up and running at full typing speed after an hour or so (some even sooner), but we would have preferred traditional, square keys. The round keys have less surface area and leave large gaps that make it a bit too easy to miss the keys if you’re touch-typing.
Like the K810 and K811, our current pick has no built-in number pad. That’s a bummer for people who have to input a lot of numbers, but not everyone needs this feature, and the added weight and bulk wouldn’t be worth it for most owners.
Not many people review keyboards anymore, but a CNET review concludes, “With its ability to toggle between nearly any smartphone, tablet and most computers, Logitech’s smooth-operating and affordable K380 is one of the best multidevice wireless keyboards you can buy.”
I’ve been using the Logitech K380 for work nearly every day (when I haven’t been testing other keyboards and laptops) for more than a year. I’ve typed hundreds of thousands of words on it, and I’ve shoved it into a bag to take with me on several occasions. Aside from normal wear and tear—namely shiny spots worn into the most frequently used keys—the K380 works just as well as the day it arrived. The battery hasn’t died yet, either.
If you spend all day typing (like I do), you should upgrade to one of Logitech’s Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboards: the K811 for Mac or the K810 for Windows. Both are more comfortable than the K380, with smooth, well-spaced square keys; an adjustable backlight; and correct layouts for Mac and Windows, respectively. Our upgrade picks also have rechargeable batteries and, like the K380, let you switch between three paired devices with the press of a button. The Easy-Switch keyboards were our top picks for years, but we now recommend the K380 for most people because it’s so much less expensive—the street prices of the K810 and K811 usually run between $60 and $100.
Both versions of the Easy-Switch are similar in size to the Logitech K380, but our upgrade picks are about half an inch wider and a smidgen deeper. The Easy-Switch models are also a bit flatter—which is better for your wrists—and lighter at 0.74 pound.
The Easy-Switch keys are satisfying to type on, with deep enough travel and springy feedback. Compared with typing on the K380, using the Easy-Switch feels smoother and less clacky. Each key on the K810 and K811 is slightly concave and coated in a smooth black plastic that looks and feels better than our main pick’s textured gray plastic. (As with the K380, the top and bottom rows have convex key tops, though the effect is subtler on the Easy-Switch keyboards.)
Most Bluetooth keyboards will work with any Bluetooth device, but our upgrade picks are specifically tailored to the needs of different operating systems. The K810 has a Windows-friendly layout: Ctrl in the bottom left, with Fn to the immediate right, then a Windows key. Along the top row, it has an Application Switcher key, a Home button, a calculator shortcut, and Print Scr and Delete buttons. The Mac/iOS version (K811) has Fn in the lower left, followed by Control, Option, and Command; along the top row it has Mission Control, Home, brightness, and eject buttons.
Each version has a traditional layout for its respective operating system, including audio keys, track control, and backlight adjustment. We recommend getting the version that corresponds to your operating system of choice, but both models will work with any OS—Bluetooth doesn’t discriminate.
Our upgrade picks have backlit keys, unlike the K380, and you can increase or decrease the backlighting level with a pair of function keys. After a few seconds of inactivity, the Easy-Switch automatically turns the backlight off to conserve battery. But—and this is cool—the keyboard lights up again when it senses your hand nearby. There’s no auto shut-off, though: The Easy-Switch won’t turn off entirely unless you switch it off, so you have to be mindful to avoid draining the battery.
The Easy-Switch models have built-in rechargeable batteries, which you can charge via the included Micro-USB cable even while you’re using the keyboard. In our previous update, Seamus noted that the Easy-Switch models typically lasted two and a half to three weeks on a single charge with the backlighting all the way up; with no backlight, the battery lasted four to five more days. Such results are much shorter than Logitech’s two-year claim for the K380, but that amount of battery life is not a huge inconvenience when you consider the backlight.
Some people who have owned their K810 or K811 for several years note that the battery life deteriorates over time. This problem is, unfortunately, a downside of rechargeable batteries, and can’t be helped. The keyboards still work for about a week—and also work on passthrough power—so we don’t consider this limitation to be a dealbreaker. If you need lengthy battery life, consider the K380 instead.
Like the K380, the Easy-Switch keyboards can pair with up to three devices at once and let you switch between them instantly. Our upgrade picks come with a three-year limited hardware warranty, three times longer than the K380’s coverage.
The Logitech Easy-Switch keyboards are the best Bluetooth keyboards we’ve tested, but they’re too expensive for most people’s needs. The street price of our upgrade picks is usually between $60 and $80, and when they go out of stock (as they did recently) prices can climb above $140—an amount that no one should pay for a Bluetooth keyboard. Unless you need a Windows- or Mac-specific layout, or spend hours typing every day, you’re probably better off with our less expensive main pick.
What do other reviewers think? TUAW’s Steven Sande was similarly impressed by the Easy-Switch, writing, “I give the Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard a big double thumbs-up with frosting on top. Seriously, the keyboard’s backlighting, feel, and ability to switch instantly between devices makes it a winner in my book.”
9to5Mac named it the best full-size Bluetooth keyboard to use with an Apple TV.
Wirecutter editor Dan Frakes reviewed the Easy-Switch during his time as an editor at Macworld:
The Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard is one of the best Mac keyboards on the market thanks to an appealing design, good keys and key layout, and a nice batch of special-function keys—in this case, for both OS X and iOS. The Easy-Switch lacks the luxuries of an extended desktop keyboard, such as a numeric keypad, but it makes up for those omissions by providing multi-device Bluetooth support and a design that makes it small enough to toss into your bag. These qualities make it versatile enough to be the primary keyboard for your desktop Mac, your MacBook, and your iPad or iPhone—without sacrificing full-size keys or a standard key layout.
On the Windows side, CNET’s Rich Brown gave the K810 four stars (out of five), writing, “I can imagine using this keyboard primarily with a tablet. I can see swapping it between a tablet and a desktop, or perhaps among multiple tablets. It would even make a great living-room keyboard thanks to its tidy, unobtrusive design.”
PCMag’s Brian Westover gave the K810 an Editors’ Choice Award, saying that it’s “a stylish-looking mobile keyboard, but the collection of features sets it above the rest.” He continues:
Swappable Bluetooth makes it perfect for use with multiple devices, across multiple operating systems, and smart features like intelligent backlight, proximity triggered Bluetooth connectivity, and built-in Windows 8 functionality make it an easy pick to replace the previous Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800 as Editors’ Choice for wireless keyboards, and is the top Windows 8 keyboard we’ve seen.
Several Wirecutter staffers own the Easy-Switch keyboards—and have for years—and everyone loves them (aside from the minor complaints addressed above, namely price, battery life decreasing over time, and no auto-sleep).
A couple of staff members have had the keyboard for more than two years and say it works just as well as when they bought it, for the most part. The keys show minimal signs of wear, but the battery life has dropped a bit: Instead of needing to charge the keyboard every two weeks or longer, they need to charge it every seven days or so.
One owner noticed that the backlighting in the middle of the keyboard isn’t as bright after having been in use for a couple of years. Another spilled hot tea on the keyboard, let it dry for a week, and found that it was still entirely usable—but then, a few months later, an unfortunate coffee incident left the keys too sticky to salvage.
We’ve spent years looking for a great Bluetooth keyboard with a built-in number pad, and we’ve finally found one worth recommending: Logitech’s K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard. The K780 is very similar to the K380—it has round keys, it can pair with and switch between up to three devices, it promises an estimated two years of battery life—but it offers the addition of a number pad and a built-in stand for smartphones and tablets. For better or worse, the K780 also shares some of the K380’s flaws, namely a lack of backlighting and the availability of only a single layout rather than separate models tailored to specific operating systems.
In addition to Bluetooth pairing, the K780 comes with Logitech’s Unifying wireless (RF) USB dongle, so you can connect the keyboard to a computer without Bluetooth. The K780 is the only Bluetooth keyboard we’ve yet tested that has both Bluetooth and a USB dongle, and we appreciate the flexibility. If you have our wireless-mouse top pick or upgrade pick (or any other Logitech Unifying peripheral), you can connect the K780 to your computer using the same dongle as your mouse.
The K780 isn’t quite a full-size keyboard: Its arrow keys are small and crowded together beneath the Shift key, and the navigation keys—Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down—are relegated to a function layer on the number pad. It also lacks Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Pause buttons, though few people will miss those. As a result the K780 takes up less room on a desk than most full-size keyboards and is more ergonomically friendly, but the design also means the arrow keys are small and more difficult to press than full-size keys. Unfortunately, none of the full-size keyboards we’ve tested with regular arrow keys are worth recommending over the K780.
As with the K380, Logitech estimates that the full-size K780 has up to two years of battery life. Both keyboards come with a one-year warranty.
If you don’t use the number pad frequently, we recommend getting the smaller Logitech K380, our top pick, and pairing it with a stand-alone number pad for the occasions when you need that feature. Keyboards without number pads are more portable, and smaller keyboards have the added ergonomic benefit of allowing you to place your mouse closer to the main keyboard area.
Wirecutter editor Dan Frakes—who has tested more than a dozen Bluetooth number pads over the past few years—recommends the Satechi Bluetooth Wireless Numeric Keypad. At its current price of around $30, it’s not too expensive (many good Bluetooth number pads cost $50 and up). Plus, the keys are responsive, the keypad is light enough to take with you, and one handy mode lets you use the number keys as directional arrows and as Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End. A couple of Amazon reviews note that the keypad automatically switches off when not in use and can take a few seconds to reconnect, but that isn’t a dealbreaker for an inexpensive number pad.
If you’d prefer an aluminum and white number pad over a black plastic one, get the Satechi Aluminum Wireless Keypad instead. Its keys feel better, but it’s more expensive, it’s a bit heavier, and the extra keys for Undo, Cut, Copy, and Paste take some getting used to.
If you’re on a budget, the Anker Ultra Compact Bluetooth Keyboard is the best option. This Anker model costs half as much as the Logitech K380 and feels like it—if at all possible, save up the extra $20 or so and get the K380 instead. The Anker can’t switch between devices and isn’t as pleasant to type on as our pick. But all the keys are in their rightful place, and the Anker doesn’t miss key presses, so it does the job.
The Anker’s keys are not as smooth or comfortable as our pick’s, and they feel like they’re made from the rough, cheap plastic that coated all electronics in the 1990s. Typing on the Anker is a clackier, cheaper-sounding experience, and the action of its larger, flatter keys is snappier and less smooth than that of our pick’s keys. Typing on it isn’t nearly as enjoyable as typing on the Logitech K380, but for $20, it works.
The Anker Ultra Compact is less intuitive to pair than the other Bluetooth keyboards we recommend, and it cannot switch between multiple devices; you must unpair and re-pair it for each device you want to use it with. It also doesn’t come in different layouts to cater to Windows and Mac users. (Both black and white versions are available, but don’t be fooled—the layout for the two is identical.) It has a built-in rechargeable battery and (Anker claims) about 45 eight-hour work days of battery life.
If you need something even more portable than our pick or our budget pick, we recommend the Logitech Keys-To-Go (for Mac or Windows). It’s especially thin and light—about as thick as a binder cover—and it has nearly full-size keys. Because the Keys-To-Go is covered in a membrane, its keys are spill resistant and don’t have keycaps that can pop off when you shove it in a bag, but it has a weird texture and mushy feedback. Our main and upgrade picks are best for people who mostly type a lot at a desk but travel occasionally; the Keys-to-Go, in contrast, is for people who mostly work on the go, such as in coffee shops or on airplanes.
Each variant of the Logitech Keys-To-Go measures 9.53 inches wide, 5.39 inches deep, and 0.25 inch thick. It weighs 0.4 pound, less than half as much as the K380. Despite being so much smaller than our pick, the Keys-To-Go doesn’t sacrifice key size—in fact, it has the most spacious key layout of any portable keyboard we tested. All the number and letter keys are nearly full-size, and though keys along the edges—Control, Fn, Caps Lock, Tab, Delete, and so on—are shrunken, none of them are difficult to find or press.
The Keys-To-Go uses scissor-switch keys covered in a membrane (similar to the Microsoft Surface Touch Cover), so while its keys have some travel, they feel mushy and aren’t as pleasurable to type on as the keys of our main or upgrade picks. The keys are also very quiet, which is great for working in shared spaces but not as satisfying.
The membrane cover is made from something that Logitech calls FabricSkin (ew!), and the texture polarized our panel of testers. The best description of what it feels like to type on the Keys-To-Go is poking someone’s clothed thigh, or pressing into a fabric Band-Aid on someone’s arm. It feels a bit like fabric, but soft and reminiscent of flesh. A couple of the panel members liked it, and others yelled variations of “Ew, ew, ew!” and “Gross!” the whole time they used the keyboard. One panel member said she would rather use the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard, with its much smaller, more cramped keys, than touch the Keys-To-Go again. If weird textures really get to you, the Microsoft keyboard may be a better option.
The upside of the Cronenbergian FabricSkin is that the Keys-To-Go is spill resistant, which makes it great for on-the-go use in messy coffee shops. (Or for use with a media center or Apple TV, if you tend to have greasy snack fingers on movie night.) If you spill something on it, simply wipe it down—no harm done. But don’t get any liquid in the Micro-USB charging port in the upper-right corner; that part isn’t spill resistant at all.
Logitech claims the Keys-To-Go offers three months of use on a charge, but the company doesn’t elaborate on how many hours of use per day that figure is based on. We’ve been using the keyboard on and off for about a month and haven’t yet had to charge it. The Keys-To-Go also has a battery-life button on the upper right side that you can press to find out if it’s charged or running low.
Our portable pick has good layouts for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS, with lots of shortcuts for tablet and smartphone use. (The Windows version has Android shortcuts, while the macOS version has iOS ones.) The Keys-To-Go manages to include these shortcuts without sacrificing traditional keyboard functionality. One minor complaint specific to the Windows version is that the backspace and delete functions are on the same key, and you have to press the Fn and Backspace keys at the same time to delete.
The Keys-To-Go can pair with only one device at a time, so you cannot switch rapidly between different gadgets, as you can with the K380 and the Easy-Switch.
The Keys-To-Go sits completely flat. This design makes it easier to slip into a bag and is better ergonomically, but it may take some getting used to. The edges of the keyboard are raised slightly higher than the keys to protect them during transport, but this bezel can get uncomfortable if you hit the spacebar with the flat side of your thumb.
Our portable pick doesn’t have a built-in groove or stand for your tablet or phone as some of the other portable options we tested do, so you’ll need a separate stand or case for such devices. If you plan to use a keyboard with only a tablet and don’t want to buy two separate pieces (a keyboard and a case), we recommend a keyboard case instead.
The Logitech Keys-To-Go costs between $50 and $70 depending on your operating system of choice, and it comes in black, red, or teal for Mac and black or navy for Windows. It comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Jason Cipriani reviewed the Mac version for Macworld, concluding, “The Keys-To-Go is a solid choice. Not only does it ditch the requirement to replace (or remove) the case on your device, it’s lightweight, super portable, quiet, and offers a familiar typing experience. … I haven’t decided yet if it’s going to replace my tried-and-true Ultrathin keyboard, but I can tell you it’s giving that one a significant run for my money.”
Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch writes, “The Keys-To-Go reminds me of an old plastic covered binder — and despite what that sounds like, it’s actually a very good thing. The accessory feels light and durable, able to withstand spills and being casually thrown in a bag without issue. And, so far, it has proven true to that impression. Plus, it doesn’t require you to commit to having a big, ungainly case on your iPad most of the time.”
Ergonomic keyboards—that is, split keyboards angled and tilted to prevent ulnar deviation and wrist extension—aren’t for everyone. But if you do a lot of typing and are concerned about hand, arm, or shoulder pain, an ergonomic keyboard can help you better position your body. Ergonomics experts told us that if you use a keyboard more than 10 hours a week and already experience discomfort or pain, you should consider one. That said, no evidence shows that ergonomic keyboards can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive stress injuries, but they can help relieve existing discomfort.
If you want a fully split, ergonomic keyboard that connects via Bluetooth, we recommend the Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue (macOS or PC) combined with the Freestyle2 VIP3 Accessory. (The VIP3 add-on is required to tent the keyboard ergonomically—that is, tilt the keyboard halves up in the middle, like a drawbridge or tent, to fit the natural angle of your wrists.) It’s available in layouts for both macOS and Windows, and either version can pair with up to three devices. As with the Logitech K380 and K810/K811, you can swap between devices; just press the Fn key plus the appropriate switching key, located along the left edge of the keyboard.
The Freestyle2 Blue has deeper key travel than our other Bluetooth-keyboard picks, but its membrane keys aren’t as crisp as those of the other ergonomic keyboards we tested. It also doesn’t allow negative tilting at all, so you’ll need a separate keyboard tray for that. (If you care about having a great ergonomic keyboard more than having one that connects via Bluetooth, take a look at our full guide to ergonomic keyboards.)
Some readers requested that we look into waterproof and splash-resistant Bluetooth keyboards, but unfortunately most water-resistant models are terrible or don’t support Bluetooth.
Most waterproof keyboards are cheap, flexible silicone keyboards like the Sound Logic Roll-up Portable Flexible Bluetooth Keyboard or the Scosche BTKB FreeKey, each of which provides a terrible typing experience. We also looked at the Seal Shield Silver Surf Touch Wireless Keyboard, which needs a USB dongle, and the Logitech Washable Keyboard K310, which has a cord.
Our spill-resistant portable recommendation, the Logitech Keys-To-Go, is the best option we’ve found in this regard.
Most keyboard care is common sense: Don’t eat over your keyboard, because crumbs will get in it—and be careful with drinks near your keyboard, because spills can ruin it.
If you do get crumbs, dust, or other gross things in your keyboard, shake it out and use some compressed air to remove the particles. Then use a damp (but not sopping wet!) microfiber cloth to get skin oils off the surface.
If you happen to spill a drink on your keyboard, you may or may not be able to save it. The first step is to turn it off immediately so that the liquid doesn’t short any of the circuitry inside. Next you want to get as much liquid out of the keyboard as possible, so turn it upside down and shake it off, and then dab the keyboard dry with a towel. If you can take your keyboard apart, do so, and then clean off the individual parts (with some rubbing alcohol if you spilled a sticky substance like soda) and set them out to air-dry.
Unfortunately none of our recommended Bluetooth keyboards is easy to disassemble, so you’ll have to clean and dry it the best you can, keeping your fingers crossed that it survives the ordeal.
If your keyboard has exposed keycaps, you should use a case, a bag, or a dedicated pocket when throwing it in a larger bag to take with you, so you don’t pop off the keycaps during transit. Keys are usually easy to pop back on should one fall off, but prevention is easier than repair.
In March 2017, Logitech announced the $100 MK850 Performance Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo, which includes the M720 wireless mouse. The MK850 keyboard has a palm rest, a number pad, and a lightly curved design. Its new DuoLink software—which assigns the M720’s buttons a different set of commands when you press the Fn key on the MK850—sounds interesting, and we’ll be testing the Bluetooth keyboard shortly to see how well it compares to our current picks.
We looked at 25 keyboards after eliminating a number of new keyboards across the different categories and ruling out any that required a USB dongle to connect.
The Apple Wireless Keyboard 2011 offers a solid typing experience, a sturdy design, and all the macOS and iOS function keys a Mac owner could hope for. But it doesn’t have backlit keys, it runs on AA batteries, and it leaves Windows and Android users out in the cold.
Apple’s newer Magic Keyboard no longer requires AA batteries—it charges its internal battery using an included Lightning-to-USB cable—and weighs only half a pound. It has a shallower slope and larger—but shallower—keys that are somewhere between those found on the last few generations of the MacBook Air and Pro and the new 12-inch MacBook. The keyboard auto-pairs with computers running at least El Capitan (OS X 10.11) the first time it’s connected for charging. But this Apple keyboard costs $100, and we think the Logitech K811 is better for Mac owners because it’s less expensive, more comfortable, and capable of switching between multiple devices.
The Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 lets you switch between multiple paired devices with a dial, but the keyboard is huge and heavy—it weighs a whopping 1.8 pounds, which is akin to carrying two of our top pick—and its large, clacky, plasticky keys make it feel more like a Fisher-Price toy than a quality keyboard. We do not like it.
The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 has the same three-device connectivity as the K380 and Easy-Switch, and because it’s solar-powered, you’ll never have to worry about charging it. But it’s less portable, it doesn’t have a backlit keyboard, and it’s discontinued now, so it’s hard to find.
The Microsoft Sculpt Mobile Keyboard (which also comes in a business version with function keys instead of shortcut keys) is affordable, but it’s curved. Unless you’re an ergonomic keyboard enthusiast—which most people aren’t—you won’t enjoy typing on it.
If the texture of the Logitech Keys-To-Go really bothers you, the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard is a good alternative. But we don’t recommend it for most people, because every panel tester said the keys were way too cramped to type on comfortably. Its number keys are ridiculously small, and while it has a few media and shortcut buttons along the top, it has no function-key row.
The Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard folds in half for easy portability, and it can connect to two devices at once. But the large gap down the middle is disruptive to some typists, and it’s too expensive to beat the Logitech Keys-To-Go.
LG’s Rolly rolls up into a tube for easy carrying, but it costs $120, and The Verge’s initial impressions weren’t positive: “Although it looks a decent size, much of the keyboard is taken up by useless plastic. When typing on the Rolly, your fingers are either bumping into the top bar (where the batteries and electronics are housed), or tapping fruitlessly on magnetic blank keys that run down either side of the device. … [The] Rolly is unlikely to be comfortable for extending typing sessions.”
The Anker Bluetooth Ultra-Slim Aluminum Keyboard doesn’t include protection for its keycaps to prevent them from popping off in your bag, and it slides around on surfaces unless you attach the included rubber feet, which make the keyboard thicker.
The Sharkk Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard is the only (relatively) inexpensive, portable Bluetooth keyboard we tested to offer backlit keys, but it feels cheap and its keycaps pop off easily.
The Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard has larger, less-cramped keys than the company’s Universal Mobile model, but it’s heavier and less convenient to store in a bag.
The curved body of the Zagg Universal Keyboard Case takes up more valuable bag space than a flat keyboard, and it has tiny, cramped keys. (Despite its name, it doesn’t come with a case for any other device—just a case for the keyboard itself.)
The Logitech Tablet Keyboard is really affordable, but it has miserably small key spacing, and many shortcuts (like volume and music controls) require hitting a secondary key.
Inateck’s Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard is almost identical to the Anker Ultra-Slim but has a higher ratio of disconnection reports in Amazon reviews. Plus, our panel said its keys felt mushier, and it was more expensive than the Ultra-Slim at the time we checked.
The AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard has better build quality than the Anker Ultra-Slim we dismissed above, but it isn’t as nice to type on and doesn’t have a rechargeable battery.
The Inateck Bluetooth 3.0 Ultra Slim Keyboard is more expensive than our budget pick and has an unusual concave design that our panel members didn’t like.
Keyboards with built-in number pads
Compared with the Logitech K780, the Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Desktop Keyboard has keys that are less comfortable; it’s also compatible with fewer operating systems, and it doesn’t let you pair with and switch between multiple devices.
The Kanex MultiSync Aluminum Mac Keyboard doesn’t feel cheap and hollow like its predecessor, can switch between devices, and has a numeric keypad and full-size arrow keys. But we tested it on Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS, and across every operating system we experienced frustrating disconnects during use and slow reconnects from sleep. We tested a second keyboard and experienced the same disconnects on Chrome OS and interference with other Bluetooth devices on Mac and Windows. A $100 keyboard shouldn’t have connection issues.
Microsoft has also released the Surface Bluetooth keyboard for $100. The keyboard is powered by two AAA batteries, which Microsoft claims will keep it running for up to a year, and it has a reported 50-foot range. We’ll update this if we’re able to spend time with the Surface keyboard, but without testing, we think the Logitech is a better choice.
(Photos by Kimber Streams.)
Originally published: October 10, 2016