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For most people, a keyboard is the primary way of interfacing with their computer. Alongside the mouse, a keyboard provides all of the functions needed to control the computer.

For people who spend many hours working each day at their computer, it is well worth investing in a high quality keyboard. This will reduce the likelihood of developing computer related health conditions such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

When choosing a new keyboard there are two main choices to be made.

Type of Keys

There are two options here. Mechanical keys or membrane style keys.

Mechanical keys use individual switches for each key on the keyboard. When a key is depressed, the switch activates. Mechanical keys are precise, pleasantly tactile to use, and are long lasting.

Membrane keyboards use two printed circuit boards, separated by a cushioned layer. When a key is pressed, the two printed circuit boards are pushed together and contact is made. These types of keyboards are cheap to manufacture, and tend to be of lower quality than mechanical keyboards.

Wired or Wireless

The second decision, is whether to go for a keyboard that physically attaches to the computer using a cable. Or a keyboard that uses a wireless connection.

A wired keyboard needs to be kept close enough to the computer so that it can be plugged in. However, as long as the cable is connected to the computer it will function.

A wireless keyboard can be moved away from the computer, and as long as the battery has power, it will work. If the battery dies, the keyboard will no longer function.

Specialised Keyboards

Keyboards for specific use are manufactured by several companies, most notably gaming keyboards. These add advanced functions to a standard keyboard to perform specific actions such as macros. They may also have backlit keys, so that they can be seen clearly in the dark.