What Are the Different Types of Keyboards?

Do you want to know the different types of keyboards and why we need them? The most common type of keyboard is the mechanical keyboard we use with our desktops. In addition, there are many others like; thumb-sized keyboards, membrane keyboards, gaming keyboards, projection keyboards, wireless keyboards, etc. You must know the function of every type of keyboard before buying a new one.

What are the different types of keyboard layouts?

There are three main keyboard layouts for the languages using the Latin alphabet; QWERTY, QWERTZ, and AZERTY. The most widely used keyboard layout is the ‘QWERTY’ one.

Keep reading to know the different types of keyboards and their uses.

Different Types Of Keyboards
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Why Do We Need Different Types Of Keyboards?

This is one of the most valid questions people ask, but unfortunately, it is often left unanswered: why do we need so many different keyboard types? Well, the answer is pretty simple: they all offer different utilities. You may want a keyboard that you can put in your lap, lay back, and type, while a pro gamer might be searching for something more compact to reach all corners of the keyboard with ease.

Types Of Computer Keyboards

What Are The Different Types Of Keyboards?

The IT industry has grown so swiftly over the years because it caters to the different needs and demands of people: building different kinds of keyboards for different people in this case. But what are the types of keyboards exactly? The following section will shed light on it.

Note: some types of keyboards might come as a surprise to you!

Thumb-sized keyboards

Remember those popular NOKIA phones back in the day? Some of them used to have horizontal keyboards – you legit had to turn your phone sideways to use that keyboard. Those little 3-4 inch phones with small QWERTY keyboards are called thumb-sized keyboards.

It’s funny how pretty much all of us have used this type of keyboard, but most of us don’t know what they’re called – we asked 11 people in our time: only one person knew that these pads on the conventionally iconic phones were called thumb-sized keyboards—fun fact: they were pretty common for most data entry jobs over a decade ago.

Mechanical Keyboards

If you’re using a desktop, you are probably still using this type of keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are the most generic kind of keyboards we have been using (and still use) with a desktop. They use spring-activated switches that allow you to enter the value on the screen once the key is pressed on the board.

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A lot of writers in the US prefer working with a mechanical keyboard due to the simplicity and practicality they offer. We personally love them as well, since the spaces between them are always made to perfection, allowing for a quick and seamless writing experience on a computer.

Membrane keyboards

Think of these as the high-end contemporary keyboards back in the 80s and 90s. Instead of having actual buttons, this keyboard was essentially a flat surface that acted as a pressure pad. The name membrane is given to it is because this pressure pad is basically a membrane that has small sensors embedded inside it.

Membrane Keyboards
Credits of Image: Fourohfour on Wikipedia

When you press any alphabet on the membrane, an electric signal is registered on the sensor underneath, which translates the values and showcases them on the screen. Since it is basically a flat surface, you don’t have to worry about dust or debris settling between the keys. However, due to the very same reason (flat electronic surface), it is the last thing a gamer would want to use.

Gaming keyboards

If you’re a gamer or know someone who is, you would know how particular they are when it comes to keyboards. It could literally make or break their entire game, which is why pro gamers always prefer buying this particular type of keyboard.

Gaming Keyboard

Gaming keyboards offer multiple unique functionalities to enhance gameplay. These features include higher key rollover ranges, backlit keyboards, and programmable keys for easier accessibility. In short, if you’re a pro gamer, gaming keyboards are bound to up your performance by a decent margin.

Projection Keyboards

Welcome to the future! While projection keyboards may not be as common today (as they may be in the future), they are gradually making their place in the consumer market. In this type of keyboard, optical sensors are used to project the keyboard onto a flat-screen like your desk.

Laser Projection Keyboard

Projection keyboards are a perfect utility for smart devices as they allow easier projection coupled with higher utility. Similar to the membrane keyboard, this type of keyboard also offers freedom from those unwanted dust and debris issues. You are most likely to see this kind of keyboard commonly in mobile devices and tablets in the years to come.

Wireless keyboards

Wired products are becoming obsolete by the day, and wireless keyboards only add to the authenticity of this fact. This type of keyboard offers sheer utility as you can use it with your desktop computer while you easily lack back in your chair having the keyboard in your lap. A quick tip: these types of keyboards are excellent help during presentations.

Wireless Keyboards

Wireless keyboards are more common with smart TVs as users are often sitting a few feet away from the television set. You can easily search your favorite show or enter particular details while sitting back on your couch using this type of keyboard.

A Few Honorable Mentions

There are so many different types of keyboards that it is difficult to cover all of them in a single post. The abovementioned ones are the kind of keyboards that are most popular or have great utility among users. A few honorable mentions apart from these are:

Roll Up keyboards

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It is a small-sized flexible keyboard that can easily be fitted into your backpack and carried around. The soft keys further allow for silent and easy typing while the compact structure offers great utility.

Tablet keyboards

Tablet Keyboard

This type of keyboard is commonly seen nowadays with iPads and similar tablets. They allow for easy connectivity offering the same quick writing experience as a laptop or desktop would. Tablet keyboards are a common preference of many on-the-go professionals.

Ergonomic keyboards

Ergonomic Keyboard


Ergonomics in keyboards has always been a critical factor, especially if you’re a person whose work involves a lot of keyboard usage. This kind of keyboard reduces body-strain from typing and is offered in ‘split’ and ‘contoured’ designs.

Chiclet Keyboards: You’ll be surprised to know that this type of keyboard made a strong comeback in recent years after getting flopped back in the late 80s.

In A Nutshell

There are plenty of different types of keyboards. Some are a common part of our routine life, while others are rarely seen being used. Regardless of how fast these input devices progress, one thing’s for sure, we won’t be saying our farewells to the on-screen QWERTY keyboards or the mechanical keyboards any time soon.

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