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Updated October 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best numeric keypads

Numeric keypads are prized by accountants, financial analysts, and others who find themselves working extensively with figures. In the past, the majority of computer keyboards came equipped with a built-in numeric keypad made up solely of numbers and related keys. Today, however, full-size keyboards often leave off the numeric keypad.

If you’re really missing a numeric keypad, you may want to pick up a standalone version. While similar in size and appearance, numeric keypads vary in the number of keys contained, how they are powered, and even in the operating systems with which they are compatible.

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Choosing a wireless numeric keypad (as opposed to a corded keypad) can help cut down on cord clutter.

Key considerations

Compatibility

Some numeric keypads work with a variety of operating systems while others are specific to one system, like PC/Windows. In addition, some numeric keypads only work with specific versions of operating systems (usually newer ones).

Your numeric keypad will be much more versatile if it has the ability to work with the widest variety of operating systems. Find out which systems and versions a numeric keypad is compatible with before getting it.

Corded vs. wireless

Some numeric keypads plug directly into a computer using a cord. Others have built-in Bluetooth or other wireless capabilities. While this is often a matter of preference, wireless can provide benefits that a wired keypad does not, and vice versa.

With a wireless keypad, you are not limited by cord length, which makes the unit more versatile. Wired cord lengths can be short, sometimes just 2 or 3 feet, while wireless distances can reach 30 feet or more. One downside of wireless keypads is that they require batteries, either disposable or rechargeable, to work.

Power

All wireless numeric keypads require some form of battery to operate. This is often in the form of disposable batteries, although some keypads feature rechargeable battery packs.

Wired numeric keypads have an advantage in that they are often powered solely through the USB cable, so you are never left scrambling for batteries. That said, some wired keypads also require batteries to operate.

Weight

Numeric keypads are generally quite lightweight, but that does vary a bit. A super lightweight numeric keypad may be a better option for those who travel frequently with their computer, but be careful about going too light. Keypads with too little weight can move around easily when you are trying to use them.

Setup

Numeric keypads should require little in the way of setup. They are typically plug-and-play items, requiring no driver installation to use. Those who seek to use the keypad via Bluetooth will need to pair the keypad with their computer’s Bluetooth receiver for it to work.

While rare, some numeric keypads employ mechanical switches. These offer a firmer feel and a louder click that some people prefer.

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Features

Keys

The number of keys on a numeric keypad typically ranges from 18 to 22, with 18 being the baseline. The keys should be large enough to comfortably use, and they are usually concave for finger comfort.

Cord

While not a feature of wireless numeric keypads, the cord will be a consideration for wired ones. Some cords for wired numeric pads can be quite short, in the 2-foot to 3-foot range. The longer the cord, the more versatile the numeric keypad will be.

Appearance

While numeric keypads are not massive in size, some are slimmer and more stylish than others. Much like standard keyboards, numeric keypads are often black, although some have a few other options, such as a brushed aluminum appearance.

Lighting

Some numeric keypads include an LED light to alert you when the keypad is powered up and ready to use or when the battery is low. Some also feature backlit keys, which is a huge plus for some.

Ports

While rare, some numeric keypads feature built-in ports. These allow you to extend the keypad by plugging in flash drives, a mouse, or other devices.

Rubber feet

Also included with some numeric keypads are rubber feet, which can help prevent the keypad from sliding around when you’re trying to use it.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Need a new mouse? Consider picking up a numeric keypad/mouse combo.
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Numeric keypad prices

Low: At $10 and under, numeric keypads are typically wired and offer a minimal build. These are typically only designed to be used with PCs.

Mid-range: For $10 to $30, you will find the majority of numeric keypads. These typically work with a variety of operating systems, can be wired or wireless, and have some advanced features, such as backlighting.

High: For $30 or more, you will find the best-quality numeric keypads. These tend to be more stylish and often include advanced features such as Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable batteries, and mechanical/backlit keys. Numeric keypad/mouse combos also exist in this range.

If you plan to use your numeric keypad in low light, choose one that is equipped with backlighting.

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Tips

  • Some numeric keypads sit taller than others. A taller keypad will require your wrist to be at a greater angle when you use it.
  • Some numeric keypads are equipped with “feet” while others lie flat. Take a minute to consider what you are most comfortable with before deciding on a keypad.
  • If the numeric keypad you choose requires batteries, verify that it ships with them. If not, be sure to add that cost to your overall budget.
  • If you have trouble getting your keypad to work with both PC and Mac operating systems, turn it over. Some keypads have a built-in switch on the bottom that must be flipped to switch operating systems.
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Select numeric keypads come with a limited replacement policy of one year. If you wish to protect your investment, steer toward one of these.

FAQ

Q. Are numeric keypads easy to use?

A. Some numeric keypads are easier to use than others. There are several factors to consider.

  • Wired vs. wireless: This is often a personal preference, but as we have discussed, there are some practical differences between the two that can affect their use.
  • Operating system: Be sure the keypad you choose is compatible with your OS.
  • Keys: Verify that a numeric keypad has all the keys you require and that they are large enough to work with your fingers.
  • Backlighting: This can be an especially valuable feature in low-light settings.

Q. Will I need a USB port on my computer?

A. Generally, yes. Wired numeric keypads require a USB port to work, as do wireless keypads that include a dongle to plug into a port. One way to avoid this is to buy a Bluetooth-capable keypad to use with your Bluetooth-equipped computer.

If you are one USB port short, you could try using a USB hub to increase your number of ports. Some numeric keypads also have built-in USB ports so you can unplug, say, a mouse from your computer, plug in the numeric keypad, and then plug the mouse into the keypad.

Q. Can I use my original keyboard alongside a numeric keypad?

A. A numeric keypad should not interfere with your current keypad or other devices. These keypads are essentially just another input device and should work next to all the other devices plugged into your computer without any problems.

 

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