Every iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro you buy comes with an Apple wireless keyboard. However, some people find this keyboard not to their liking. One of the biggest complaints about it is that it’s too thin (a frequent complaint about Apple products in some circles). Or maybe your original Apple keyboard broke and you just want to replace it with a cheaper alternative.
Luckily there are quite a few companies dedicated to making Mac-specific keyboards. But which should you get? Read on.
Macally Full-Size USB Wired Keyboard
This is probably the best option for those of you who want to replace your original Mac keyboard with a cheap alternative. Macally is known for making a number of different high-quality Mac keyboard and this is probably one of their most basic.
The wired USB keyboard comes in black or white and features 104 keys, 16 Apple-specific shortcut keys, and a numeric pad. What’s really cool about this keyboard is that it has “spill-proof” drainage ports, which means it’s extra resistant against spills by you or your children.
Another nice feature is that is has a 5 foot USB cord, so you can be sure it will reach the USB port on your Mac no matter if its base is hidden under the desk.
Satechi Aluminum USB Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
We really love this keyboard for its beautiful design. It looks like an alternative concept made by Jony Ive. Its aluminum body features keys with rounded corners–much like the app icons on the iPhone. The keyboard also includes intuitive macOS function hotkeys that allow you to pause/play, switch applications, adjust brightness and more, all with a press of a button.
The USB cord makes it compatible with all modern Macs. And in true Apple-esque style, it comes in silver, rose gold, gold, and space grey options.
Macally USB Wired Compact Keyboard
Another Macally makes the list. This time it’s their compact keyboard. Unlike the other keyboards on this list, the Macally USB Wired Compact Keyboard doesn’t feature a numeric keypad. That means if you work on a lot of spreadsheets, this keyboard probably isn’t for you.
However, if you’re not a big spreadsheet user and have limited desk space, you’ll love the Macally USB Wired Compact Keyboard, which is about the size as a standard keyboard you find on a laptop. The keyboard features 13 Apple shortcut keys (cut/copy/paste, iTunes control, Volume up/down, etc.) The keyboard comes with a 4.7 foot USB cable and comes in two color options: white or aluminum silver.
Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard for Mac
Wireless keyboards are the norm for Macs. All Mac desktops sold today come with wireless keyboards by default. Of course, the pain with wireless keyboards is that you need to replace their batteries from time to time.
That’s where this Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard comes in. As the name suggests, the keyboard features a solar panel strip that runs along the top of it. The solar strip can accept light inputs from any source including daylight or light from lamps. Once fully charge from light sources, the keyboard can stay powered for three months of daily use even in the dark.
The Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard also features a slim design and concave keys, which some people say make typing easier on their fingers.
Macally Backlit Mechanical Keyboard
The third Macally on this list is unique. For over a decade now, the trend in keyboards has been to make them slimmer. But the Macally Backlit Mechanical Keyboard bucks that trend. As its name suggest the Macally Backlit Mechanical Keyboard is designed for people who loved old-school mechanical keyboard with huge thick keys and that clack-clack sound they make.
But just because this keyboard is an old-school thick beast, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any modern features. The keyboard sport backlight keys, which have three adjustable levels of intensity. But make no mistake about it: keyboard is made for users who remember what keyboard from the 1980s and early 1990s were like.
What Qualities Are Important In A Mac Keyboard Replacement?
Mac-compatibility: this should go without saying, but before you buy a keyboard for your Mac, make sure it’s specifically made for the Mac. Though Mac’s can use Windows keyboards, they’ll present challenges for you because some of the keys on a Windows keyboard are different than on the Mac (such as the Command and some Function keys).
Number Pads: If you do a lot of numerical data entry, such as heavy users of spreadsheets do, you’ll want to make sure your replacement Mac keyboard has a built-in number pad. However, if you are used to compact keyboards, like those found on laptops, you may be able to do without the numbered on your desktop keyboard.
Key Travel: Key travel refers to the distance the key sinks down (or depresses) when you press it. Many modern keyboards have low travel because they are so thin. However, some people don’t like the feel of low travel keyboard and instead like a keyboard that feels you really need to pound the keys. If that’s you, you’ll want to go with a “mechanical” keyboard, which just means the keyboard has keys with high travel.
Check out Apple’s patent for an iPhone keyboard and trackpad case!
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.