Popular Types of Keyboards Explained

There are many types of keyboards. Here are the highlights of some of the more popular types and an explanation of the function and differences.

We will also explain actuation, and different types of mechanical keyboards.


Mechanical keyboards have a separate moving part for each key, as opposed to membrane keyboards which do not.

This separation creates more clarity in each key press and gives more precision and accuracy.

People who type a lot, such as typists, programmers, and gamers tend to prefer mechanical keyboards.

This type is often customizable through software, so users can change what keys do. This customization might include creating macros, and editing the lighting colors.

These keyboards can often be customized by replacing the keycaps.

Types of Switches

The criteria for how each switch functions on a Mechanical Keyboard are Linear, Tactile, and Clicky.

Linear keys provide the user with smoother, flowing keystrokes and are often silent.

Tactile keys provide feedback on each keypress, which feels like a bump to the user.

Clicky keys make a very clear sound with each key press, and are the loudest.

This List of Switches has essentially every mechanical key that exists on it.

“Cherry” keys are the most common type.

Cherry MX switch


Unlike typical mechanical keyboards, Membrane keyboards do not have separate moving parts.

They have pressure pads on one flat circuit board.

A key press creates electrical contact onto the board.

They typically have a rubber type mat underneath the keys.

Aaron Siirila, CC BY-SA 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Chiclet Keyboards

The keys of a chiclet keyboard are spaced further apart.

These keyboards are flat, sleek, and lower in height, and usually replicate the feel of a built in laptop keyboard.

Multimedia Keyboards

Multimedia keyboards have groups of buttons for certain command functions.

These commans include common actions necessary for a particular function.

One example is mechanical gaming keyboards, which feature functions like playing, pausing, fast forward, rewind, and stopping media.

Flexible Keyboards

Flexible keyboards are thin rubber and can be rolled up and easily transported.

Ergonomic Keyboard

Ergonomic Keyboards have a split design to make it more comfortable for people’s wrists.

Some are even two completely separate pieces.

Users will need to select what they think is most comfortable.

These keyboards may help with carpal tunnel or with wrist or arm pain.

Apple Keyboard

Apple makes a keyboard primarily for use with desktop Macs.

They are quite sleek and sit at a slight angle, and are similar to a chiclet style keyboard.

Mini Wireless Keyboard

The most portable keyboards are mini wireless.

This style is great for presentations, and situations where one would need to move around, or be somewhere without a desk.

Wired vs Wireless

Keyboards are available in wired and wireless options. The user’s preference is most important there.

The main advantage of wireless is portability and there is no pesky cable limiting its position.

The main disadvantage of wireless, is the battery that needs to be recharged or replaced periodically.

Wired will never need charging since the device gets its power when plugged in.

If you would like more information about the different types of keyboards, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you!

Additionally, if you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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