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Updated March 2022
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Buying guide for best waterproof keyboards

A well-known rule regarding personal electronics is that they don’t mix with water. If you drop your digital camera into a pool or knock your smartphone into the toilet, it’s time to buy a replacement.

However, manufacturers are now designing some electronics — including some keyboards — that can survive a swim in the pool, sink, or toilet.

Dozens of waterproof keyboards are available, and they operate just like any other keyboard. You won’t sacrifice any performance or usability when you purchase a quality waterproof keyboard, either.

If you’re interested in a waterproof keyboard, your primary concern should be how effectively the hardware protects against water damage. We’ve compiled a list of important items to consider when comparing waterproof keyboards.

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The majority of waterproof keyboards are protected against all kinds of liquids, including coffee and soda.


IP rating

The IP Code is an IEC standard that measures the level of protection a device has against water or other contaminants.

To interpret the IP rating’s protection level against water, make a note of the second digit in the IP rating. A low number (1 or 2) offers minimal protection against spills and no protection against immersion. A high digit (7 or 8) will protect against immersion.

Unfortunately, some manufacturers don’t include IP ratings with their keyboards, which could signal that it isn’t officially rated. If you want a keyboard that provides the highest level of water protection, stick to a model with an official IP rating.

Spill resistant vs. waterproof

Keyboard manufacturers sometimes use terms such as spill-resistant, water-resistant, and waterproof interchangeably with their models. These descriptions are marketing terms, not specific descriptions of the keyboard.

Some keyboards described as “spill-resistant” will only protect the keyboard’s interior components for several seconds. You’ll have time to turn off the computer and protect your data before the iquid reaches the keyboard’s electronics. The term “water-resistant” may also indicate that a keyboard can survive a slight spill but not immersion in water.


Waterproof keyboards feature elements that create a barrier against liquids, such as a thin film underneath the keys. Liquid strikes the film and drains away, preventing it from reaching the internal electronics.

Occasionally, the keyboard interior will have channels that catch liquids and drain them through holes on the bottom. In other designs, electronics are sealed inside a hidden case that prevents water from reaching them.

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Expert Tip
If a waterproof keyboard becomes wet, most manufacturers recommend that you wipe down standing water and allow the hardware to air dry.


Once you’ve studied all of the waterproof features of a keyboard, it’s time to consider its usability. You should be able to type comfortably and use the keyboard with your computer attachments. Here are some basic keyboard features to consider.

Switches: Keyboards have different switches underneath the individual keys, and each type delivers a different level of feedback. A click switch audibly clicks when you press a key to indicate a successful keystroke. Tactile switches have a similar feel to click switches, but they are noiseless. A light touch activates linear switches and allows the user to type quickly.

Lighting: Accent lighting around the keys is a common feature found in modern keyboards, including waterproof keyboards. The illumination helps you view the keys in the dark, and you can synchronize color options with certain parts of a game.

USB cable and ports: The USB cable that connects to your keyboard should be long enough to position it wherever you want. A 6-foot cable is an adequate length for the majority of users, and braided cables deliver greater durability than non-braided ones. The keyboard may also offer USB ports that allow you to plug in a mouse or headphones.

Programmable keyboards: Users can program commonly used keystrokes into some keyboards and help save time when typing.

Waterproof keyboard prices

Waterproof keyboards don’t cost much more than standard keyboards, but be wary of any inexpensive keyboard that claims full waterproof protection. Without an IP rating, you can’t be sure of water resistance or waterproof claims.

Inexpensive: The least-expensive keyboards with waterproof protection lie in the $15 to $30 price range. These basic keyboards have few, if any, advanced features.

Mid-range: Waterproof keyboards fit in the $30 to $50 price range and deliver water-resistant or waterproof capabilities. They also offer features found in high-end keyboards, such as tactile feedback.

Expensive: The most expensive waterproof keyboards cost anywhere from $50 to $500. These pricier options often feature antimicrobial protection and full protection from liquid spills.

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Did you know?
You can wash some waterproof keyboards in the dishwasher on its “normal” cycle setting.


If you are unsure whether you need a waterproof keyboard, we’ve collected some common use cases for them.

  • Use in harsh environments: If you often work around water and other contaminants, having a spill-proof keyboard protects your gear.

  • Use in mobile environments: If your computer and keyboard move from location to location, you may not be able to control external elements. If there’s a danger of water exposure, a waterproof keyboard is an ideal investment.

  • Use in shared environments: For workstations where multiple people use the keyboard, consider a keyboard that can be washed and disinfected.

  • Use in medical environments: A disinfectable waterproof keyboard is crucial to prevent the spread of disease in the medical field, where users encounter multiple types of fluids every day.

  • Use at home: When you work at a home computer, it’s more convenient to eat and drink than it might be in a formal office setting. A waterproof keyboard offers greater protection against spills.
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Waterproof keyboards made for hospital use may have antimicrobial protection in addition to water protection.


Q. Should I wash my waterproof keyboard from time to time?

A. Yes. This is especially true if you are using the keyboard in an area where dangerous chemicals, bacteria, or viruses may be present, such as a hospital or doctor’s office.

Q. What particular cleaning products should I use?

A. It depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Some keyboards are only meant to be cleaned with water, while others can accept mild soap or isopropyl alcohol. Keyboards used in medical environments can be cleaned with a bleach solution.

Q. Are my waterproof keyboard’s USB ports and/or USB cord protected from spills, too?

A. For the majority of keyboards, USB cables and ports are not waterproof, but they come with protective caps. Use the caps when you wash the keyboard, and keep them attached for ports that aren’t in use to protect against spills.

Q. Will a waterproof keyboard also be safe from food crumbs and dust?

A. Normally, keyboards are safe against all liquid and solid contaminants. However, check with the manufacturer, because certain waterproof keyboards may not be protected against food crumbs and dust.

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