Best Tablet Keyboards

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
250 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best tablet keyboards

Last Updated August 2019

In an age when every screen is a touchscreen and mobile apps are just as powerful as their desktop equivalents, the lines between devices are blurring. With laptops, that means including touchscreens to make what the industry has dubbed “two-in-one laptops.” With smartphones and tablets, it means there are more keyboards and keyboard cases to provide you with a laptop-like experience. In fact, with the right keyboard, you can turn your tablet into a workhorse that’s fast enough to keep up with you at work or school and portable enough to go anywhere.

Finding the perfect tablet keyboard can be a little tricky, however. While they all cover the same basics — they connect via Bluetooth and let you type more comfortably than you can with an on-screen keyboard — there’s a wide range of features, models, and prices to consider. Some are smaller, to match tablets with diminutive screens; others have a built-in stand so you can keep your screen upright while you type. There’s a lot to consider!

That’s what we’re for. Here’s our best advice on finding the perfect tablet keyboard, whether you’re writing the Great American Novel or you just need a more convenient way to type. Check out our favorites, too.

When it comes to tablet keyboards, a good general rule to keep in mind is just because it looks like an Apple product doesn’t mean it’s a high-quality product. Many smaller manufacturers have gotten good at cloning Apple’s ultra minimalist design sensibilities, all the way down to the fonts and finishes, but lookalike technology often delivers only so-so performance. Read user reviews closely. Some products are fantastic, while others are cheap imitations.

Key considerations

Before you start shopping, think about how you’ll use your tablet keyboard so you can get an idea of what features you’re looking for. Start by answering these questions.

Does your tablet manufacturer make a matching keyboard?

If you’ve got a name-brand tablet like an Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface, or Amazon Fire, start by checking out the company’s “official” matching keyboards. Buying the branded matching keyboard for a tablet usually means two things: you’ll get a high-quality Bluetooth keyboard with access to exclusive functionality (like keyboard shortcut buttons), and you’ll pay a lot more (sometimes up to three times as much) than buying a case made by a third party. Our take is that manufacturer-made tablet keyboards are typically made to higher standards than other cases, so they’re not a bad idea, but depending on the price point, they’re also not as good a value.

Do you want a keyboard that’s part of your tablet’s case?

Some of the best available tablet keyboards are part of a case, but if you’re planning on using a different case with your tablet, they won’t work. But before you dismiss them, check out a few models — tablet cases with built-in keyboards are incredibly handy for keeping everything together, and in many instances they go a long way toward creating a laptop-like experience.

Do you need a full-size keyboard?

Most tablet keyboards are built to match the width of your tablet, so they’re smaller than standard keyboards. Think about how much typing you’ll be doing, and whether your hands can comfortably fit on a tablet-sized keyboard. If typing on an on-screen keyboard feels cramped and uncomfortable to you, you may be similarly frustrated by a tablet-sized keyboard, in which case a full-size tablet keyboard is your best bet.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

If your tablet keyboard takes standard batteries, keep a spare set around. There’s never a good time for batteries to run out, but it will inevitably happen, so be prepared.

Tablet keyboard features

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of different tablet keyboard models available. Here are the features that matter most.

Multi-device support: Many tablet keyboards can connect to different devices and then let you easily flip between them. So, for example, if you have a tablet, smartphone, and desktop computer, you can connect your keyboard with all of them simultaneously and then use a physical dial to select which device you want to interact with. Keyboards like these are perfect for instantly flipping between text messages, spreadsheets, and documents on different devices.

Backlighting: If you’ll be using your tablet keyboard in darker spaces, consider getting one with backlighting. Backlighting illuminates the keys with colored lights, which makes them a lot easier to see in the dark.

Kickstand: Any Bluetooth keyboard can be a tablet keyboard, but if you’re buying just for that device, then getting one with a built-in kickstand is a good idea. Some keyboards have an open slot at the top that’s just big enough to fit your tablet, while others have an adjustable stand that allows you to see your tablet from a variety of different angles. Consider this a must-have feature.

Tablet keyboard prices

Inexpensive: Between $15 and $30, you’ll find a lot of solid values, so long as you’re okay with a tablet-sized keyboard, which is smaller than a standard keyboard. If you’re in the market for a tablet keyboard that you can take with you, or you simply need one that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, there are plenty of options in this price range.

Mid-range: Between $30 and $80, tablet keyboards offer the basics plus some key benefits. Models in this price range often support multi-device connections or are made of higher-quality materials. If you want a tablet keyboard that will last for the full life of your tablet, plan on spending this much.

Expensive: Tablet keyboards that cost more than $80 are usually part of luxury tablet cases designed around transforming your tablet into a laptop. Paying this much for a tablet keyboard can be a bitter pill to swallow, but if you’re serious about productivity, it can be worth it.

EXPERT TIP

If you travel a lot with your tablet, consider a folding keyboard, which can be folded in half and more easily stowed away. Folding keyboards are usually on the small side, but they’re just as affordable as other models.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Check measurements with a ruler. When it comes to tablet keyboard sizes, there’s a tremendous amount of variance, so don’t trust the pictures to tell the whole story. Pay attention to the width, which should roughly match the width of your tablet and comfortably fit both your hands.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Learn the shortcut keys. If your tablet keyboard includes shortcut keys, learn about them so you can use them for faster tablet navigation. Many tablets include dedicated keys for common functions like copy and paste. This is one of those times where it really pays to read the manual. Knowing the right shortcut keys can help you work a lot more efficiently.

  • Keep food and drink away from your tablet keyboard. Whether it’s tiny crumbs or the occasional spill, keyboards are pretty susceptible to dirt and grime, and that can cause problems ranging from sticking keys to some keys not working at all. Keep your tablet nice and clean and it will last a lot longer.

  • Use your tablet keyboard with your smartphone. Tablet keyboards are Bluetooth keyboards, which means they can connect to any Bluetooth device, including your smartphone. If you do any serious typing on your phone, like long emails, use your tablet keyboard with your phone to make it a lot easier.

Other products we considered

If you’ve got a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, we highly recommend the Logitech iPad Pro Slim Combo. Logitech partnered directly with Apple to create a Pro case that’s nearly perfect. It’s solidly built, it’s got a full-size keyboard, and best of all, it’s got a smart connector, so it charges directly from the iPad and never requires manual recharging. If you want the option of turning your iPad into a powerhouse work machine but need a svelte, portable keyboard, this is the one to get. If you’ve got an Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, check out the Fintie Keyboard Case. It’s one of the few tablet keyboard cases in which the keyboard can detach, which is useful if you don’t need to take it with you in some situations. It’s got all the key features you’d want on board: tablet stand, durable leather shell, and ultra slim design. If you didn’t think you could do a lot of typing on your Fire HD 8 tablet, think again.

If you’re buying a tablet keyboard that’s also a case with a kickstand, pay attention to the kickstand’s viewing angles. You’ll need to make sure your tablet is set at an angle that lets you see the whole screen and is still comfortable. Watch product videos or check out user photos, and get the one that makes the most sense for your setup and health.

FAQ

Q. Can I use any tablet keyboard with my iPad?

A. Yes, so long as it’s a Bluetooth keyboard. Apple makes its own iPad keyboards, which often include exclusive functionality, but all iPads work with any standard Bluetooth keyboard.

Q. How long do the batteries last in a tablet keyboard?

A. It depends. Most tablet keyboards are powered by replaceable batteries (usually AA or AAA) and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months on a single set of batteries. Others have internal rechargeable batteries, which last almost as long, but are a much cheaper alternative in the long run. Keep in mind that if you buy a tablet keyboard with an internal rechargeable battery, it will eventually stop holding a charge, so your tablet keyboard could stop working after several years.

Q. Can I use my tablet keyboard with a desktop or laptop computer?

A. Yes, so long as your desktop or laptop supports Bluetooth. If you’re interested in using your tablet keyboard with other devices, make sure to buy one that can easily switch between them. Multi-device keyboards make switching as easy as turning a dial; otherwise, you’ll be stuck unpairing and repairing your keyboard each time you want to change devices.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Production Assistant
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Jaime
    Jaime
    Writer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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