As an engineer, you must be using a computer extensively for different tasks from typing reports to creating and analyzing designs. To increase your productivity you must be using quality computer components like keyboards.
Chances are your old aged keyboard is badly affecting your typing efficiency and in turn your workflow.
Therefore you must be looking for the best keyboards for engineers for making the most out of your computer.
In this article, we will be reviewing some of the quality keyboards you can purchase if you are an engineer. We will also look at different characteristics you should consider in such options.
List of Best Keyboards for Engineers and CAD in 2020
Here is a quick list of our recommended keyboard for engineers and CAD designers.
- Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic – Wireless Keyboard for Engineers
- SteelSeries Apex – Affordable – Mechanical and Wired
- Logitech Craft – Premium Grade and Wireless – Expensive
- Das Keyboard Model S – Wired – High Performance Mechanical Keyboard for CAD
- Logitech MK850 – Keyboard/Mouse Combo – Wireless
1. Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic –Wireless Keyboard for Engineers
Are you searching for an all-in-one that would cater to the needs of your workstation or PC? Then the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop could be your best choice.
Included in the package is a set of ergonomic keyboard and mouse along with a separate Numpad. The best thing about the parts is that they are wireless and run on long-lasting batteries. You can connect them through a USB receiver.
The keyboard has a dome-shaped design and comes with a cushioned palm rest. As you type for long, your wrists and forearms will remain in a natural position that will protect you from fatigue and pain.
Additionally, the keyboard also features encryption technology that will protect your information.
The mouse is shaped to promote correct posture of your wrists and forearms.
If you type numbers frequently or do a lot of calculations you will cherish the separate Numpad. It gives you more flexibility in your workspace.
2. SteelSeries Apex – Affordable – Mechanical and Wired
Next, we have a peripheral that’s known for solid construction and good mechanical performance at a low price. It’s the SteelSeries Apex M400 keyboard.
So what makes this machine an excellent candidate for the best keyboard for engineers?
You see that the keyboard is a mechanical one and based on the manufacturer’s QX1 switches. These are linear switches and can be judged in a way that you have to press the keys down all the way. As a result, you will find that typing is smooth and responsive.
It may take some time for you to get used to it if you are new to mechanical keyboards. Note that the keys are loud when pressed. The switches are also durable with a lifespan of around 60 million clicks.
The keyboard is well-built as it has a high-quality steel backplate.
As an engineer, you will like that this accessory supports full n-key rollover with anti-ghosting. Further, each key is programmable and supports setting up your macros.
The presence of a blue LED backlight makes this wired keyboard a pleasure to use in dim environments.
3. Logitech Craft – Premium Grade and Wireless – Expensive
If you are looking for a peripheral with premium features and exceptional performance, then the Logitech Craft should be your choice.
We nominate this as the best keyboard for engineers because it has a sleek style, multi-device capability along with smart dial for enhanced productivity.
The dial is a wheel that adapts to the application you are using and helps to perform specific functions. It’s also touch-sensitive, which means a more optimized workflow as an engineer.
The dial works on different software and probably the main reason for the keyboard’s name.
The keyboard has an aluminum construction but a slim body. As its compact, you do not see an included wrist rest. The keys are based on scissor switches that are quiet and have a tactile feel.
There are also other notable features of this machine. First, the keys are backlit and you will enjoy working with it.
Second, you can pair it and type it on 3 devices through Bluetooth. Note that this model makes use of a rechargeable battery.
4. Das Keyboard Model S – Wired – High Performance Mechanical Keyboard for CAD
We have a high-performing option with a strong build in the form of Das Keyboard Model S. This has made us regard it as the best keyboard for engineers if you want a great mechanical performance.
This full-sized accessory is based on Cheery MX Blue switches. These are gold-plated and known to have high durability as you expect.
Moreover, they also have tactile feedback that makes you type faster and accurately and with comfort. The keys are a bit loud but you can also opt for a quieter variant that comes with Cherry Brown switches.
This glossy-black keyboard also has other features making it usable for engineers.
The keys have a laser-etched inscription which does not cause them to fade. There’s also a USB hub through which you can connect and charge your gadgets.
This model supports a full key rollover with an included PS2 adapter and 6 keys with USB. Note that this is a wired keyboard and comes with a long cable. This will lessen connectivity issues in your workspace.
The presence of various media keys and sleep function would make you at ease.
5. Logitech MK850 – Keyboard/Mouse Combo – Wireless
We would not be wrong if we label this keyboard and mouse combo as having the best value for engineering professionals.
You can gauge the popularity of this product from the large customer base who have given it positive reviews.
One of the best features of this combo is that it lets you connect to do multitasking on up to 3 devices. It means you can type on your PC, then switch to your phone, tablet, or another PC. Both the keyboard and mouse have buttons that let you do this.
Coming to the keyboard, it’s a full-sized one. Keys are responsive, soft and comfortable to press and are very quiet as compared to the other ones in the list.
You also get a cushioned palm rest that would support your wrists and hands.
The mouse has a contoured shape and fast scrolling wheel that lets you navigate fast. It flaunts an optical sensor though.
You can use wireless connectivity options to connect your devices through Bluetooth or the receiver. And yes it has wide compatibility with Windows, Android and Apple devices.
Hence we highly regard this product as the best keyboard for engineers for good everyday performance.
What to Look For in Engineering Keyboard
There are a few key aspects you should be looking at when buying a keyboard suited for engineers.
These are as follows:
Keyboards come in different variants concerning their form factor. The one that we recommend for you as an engineer is the full-sized keyboard with 104 keys.
This form factor includes function row, arrow keys and number pad. (Source)
It allows you to do different tasks whether you are inputting alphanumeric data or using various keys and shortcuts in different software.
Most full-sized keyboards have an integrated number pad. In some models the number pad is separate. It gives you more mobility when using the accessory.
Ten Key Less (TKL)
Ten key less are popular among engineers and cad workers who want to buy a separate numpad for themselves to that they can manually position it as per their preference.
You will also find some users who prefer the small 60% keyboards. These are basically mini keyboard that have 60% of the keys a normal keyboard does.
These keyboard ditch the functions keys and even arrow keys.
If you want to use the arrow keys or the other missing keys, you have to hold down a dedicated “function” key which allows you to access the second layer of the keys.
For example “WASD” usually second as the arrow keys that you can access by pressing and holding a dedication function key.
If you want the arrow keys, you can go for 65% keyboard that are also compact but have the intuitive arrow keys on them.
The reason these keyboards are popular is because their small form factor allows you to access many keys and combination of keys quickly.
Separate or Left Sided Numpad
Many designer and AutoCad user prefer their numpad to be either separate from the keyboard or on the left side.
This enables them to type the values with their left hand while they are draw with the mouse using their right hand.
Wired vs. Wireless
You will come across two options in terms of connectivity: wired or wireless. Wired ones usually connect through USB cable while the wireless ones connect through either Radio Frequency or Bluetooth.
Each comes with its pros and cons. Wired keyboards have a stable connection, don’t need batteries and are cheaper than wireless ones.
In contrast, wireless keyboards are more convenient and allow you to make your workplace tidy by using it at a longer distance. Without batteries, they can’t work. They are also known to lag sometimes. (Source)
We strongly recommend you opt for a good quality keyboard, whether it’s wired or wireless.
If your office is in a stationary place and you can manage the cable clutter, then its best to work with a wired keyboard. Wireless one should be your choice if you travel a lot.
We would cover here three popular keyboard types that would be suitable for you as an engineer. You can go for anyone the most you are comfortable with.
These keyboards are based on mechanical switches which are known for their durability and tactile feedback which is a satisfying feature for typing. They also offer convenient and easy typing for hands.
However, they are pricey, tend to make noise and are unsuitable for travel as they need connecting wires.
These keyboards have rectangular or square keys that are flat. They also have membranes inside them to complete their circuit.
Some of their advantages are that they are more inexpensive, have quiet keys and allows easy portability and travel as they are often wireless.
However, they are not long-lasting as mechanical ones and are difficult to repair once a key is broken. (Source)
There’s another type of keyboard that is designed in a split or V-shape. If you are typing for long periods, this would keep your hands, wrists and forearms in a natural position. These are often wireless and allow more mobility.
Some keyboards offer advanced features that make you productive. The more features they have, the more their prices go up.
Some of these features include:
- Multi-Device Connectivity
- LED-Backlit keys
- Wheel or dial for smart input
- Programmable keys/macro-editing
- Combo products (includes mouse)
Of all the advanced features, one of the most important is the programmable keys. Serious Autocad users can assign macros to certain programmable keys.
That way instead of going through several click to access a certain tool, you can just press that key.
Engineering can involve challenging tasks. It’s equally important that you invest in a top-tier keyboard for your computer or other devices for effective work.
We hope that this article on the best keyboards for engineers would help in getting the right peripheral as per your professional needs.
After all, choosing which keyboard to purchase shouldn’t be a light decision. It’s a long-term investment.