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The 6 best membrane keyboards

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In the world of computer keyboards, most options are split between two major categories: mechanical keyboards and membrane keyboards. Whereas mechanical keyboards are spring-loaded with physical switches so they’re tactile and clicky, membrane keyboards use a rubber or silicone dome underneath each key, which makes them quieter, less resistive, and more affordable. The best membrane keyboards are responsive, well-made even though they’re less distracting, and compatible with both your lifestyle and existing devices.

What To Look For In A Membrane Keyboard

Durability: Membrane keyboards are typically known for being less durable than mechanical keyboards. That said, the right features can increase their lifespan. Some brands test their keyboards for longevity (in number of keystrokes) and advertise that information. Others protect and reinforce their hardware with things like spill-resistant designs and braided cables.

Compatibility: Before you choose a keyboard, make sure it’s compatible with your existing technology — both when it comes to the operating system and the ports and cables needed to hook it up.

Responsiveness: The primary function of a keyboard is to register keystrokes, but cheaper membrane keyboards have been known to skip inputs — especially if multiple keys are being pressed at the same time. Anti-ghosting technology helps make sure that all keystrokes are quickly and accurately registered in the order they were pressed.

Volume: Many people opt for membrane keyboards because they’re quieter than mechanical keyboards. While most brands won’t advertise a concrete measurement for this like decibels, you can look for keyboards that are designed for quiet use and has that backed up by reviewers.

Comfortability and Convenience: Especially if you work or game for hours at a time, your keyboard should be comfortable and convenient to use. Comfort may come in the form of a built-in wrist rest or ergonomically curved keys — while convenience may mean a backlight, a keyboard lock, a wireless design, or programmable keys.

Shop The Best Membrane Keyboards

In a hurry? Here are the top picks for membrane keyboards, whether you’re using your computer to work or game.

  1. The overall best: HyperX Alloy Core RGB Membrane Gaming Keyboard
  2. The best for gaming: Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard
  3. An affordable wireless mouse & keyboard combo: Logitech MK295 Wireless Mouse & Keyboard Combo
  4. A quiet keyboard with a mechanical feel: Redragon K509-RGB PC Gaming Keyboard
  5. A comfortable keyboard for Windows: Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
  6. The best Bluetooth membrane keyboard: Logitech MX Keys Advanced Wireless Illuminated Keyboard

1. The overall best

Pros:

  • Spill-resistant with a reinforced braided cable
  • Comfortable, quiet, responsive keys
  • RGB lighting effects
  • Designated media keys

Cons:

  • The lights are bright and it’s not the quietest out there, so some reviewers find it distracting

The HyperX Alloy Core RGB keyboard has an average 4.6-star rating after feedback from more than 4,000 reviewers. Even though it’s a relatively quiet membrane keyboard, it’s still durable, spill-resistant, and has anti-ghosting technology to help make sure every keystroke is registered. Despite its affordable price tag, it also has plenty of extra features like six pre-set LED lighting effects, dedicated media keys, a keyboard lock mode, and quick-access buttons where you can control the lighting profiles and enter gaming mode.

One reviewer wrote: “Honestly if I could recommend any membrane keyboard, this would be it. Pros: membrane so very quiet, media controls are exquisite, very customizable, Fn+F12 allows you to disable all input/lock the keys, great for cleaning, been using for several months and keys feel great still.”

Compatible operating systems: Windows 7, 8. 8.1, and 10 | Connectivity technology: USB 2.0 | Anti-Ghosting: yes

2. The best membrane keyboard for gaming

Pros:

  • Highly customizable
  • Comfortable and convenient for gaming
  • Affordable despite its quality

Cons:

  • Some reviewers don’t like the key layout

Yes, it’s a membrane keyboard — but six programmable macro keys, a detachable palm rest, and customizable RGB backlighting make the Corsair K55 keyboard a favorite among gamers. It also has anti-ghosting technology and is resistant to dust and accidental spills, so it’s one of the more responsive and durable options out there. Finally, if you switch from gaming to streaming, you can control the volume and media playback directly from the keyboard.

One reviewer wrote: “What drew me to this keyboard was just how solid it looked with how many different features it has. The programable ‘G’ buttons are a welcomed upgrade from a standard keyboard that lacks this function, but the inclusion of dedicated media control buttons make this the ultimate combination of a gaming keyboard and a media consumption keyboard. The lighting software is also very easy to use and gives loads of options.”

Compatible operating systems: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10; Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra | Connectivity technology: USB 2.0 | Anti-Ghosting: yes

3. An affordable wireless mouse & keyboard combo

Pros:

  • Wireless
  • Affordable and comes with a free wireless mouse
  • Durable and “virtually silent,” according to reviewers

Cons:

  • It’s relatively basic in terms of its features

If you don’t want to be tethered by cables, the Logitech wireless keyboard is quiet, lag-free, and even comes with a bonus wireless mouse, all for a great price. It connects with plug-and-play ease using a 2.4 GHz USB dongle, which responds quickly and accurately from up to 33 feet away. Plus, one fresh set of batteries lasts for up to 36 months in the keyboard (and 18 months with the mouse). The keyboard itself is spill-proof, features adjustable tilt legs, has eight shortcuts, and allows you to control the volume, media playback, and more at the touch of an on-device button. However, no anti-ghosting tech is noted.

One reviewer wrote: “In my search to find a quiet wireless keyboard I have purchased 4 other keyboards, which were fine, one of which I used for 7 months, but hands down this is my favorite. For starters, its size looks and feels like a normal plug in keyboard that come standard with my office computers, but this keyboard is in a league of its own. The keys are some of the softest I have ever experienced, it almost feels like your fingers glide across the keys, which is great since if you are typing for hours a day your hands and fingers do not get tired as they would with a normal keyboard. Secondly, there is absolutely zero noise as you are typing!”

Compatible operating systems: Windows 7, 8, 10, 11; Chrome OS | Connectivity technology: 2.4 GHz wireless USB dongle | Anti-Ghosting: unclear

4. A quiet keyboard with a mechanical feel

Pros:

  • A tactile mechanical feel, but still relatively quiet and affordable
  • Made from waterproof ABS
  • Gaming-friendly features and customization

Cons:

  • Not the longest-lasting in terms of computerized components

For those who prefer the feel of a mechanical keyboard, but are looking for something cheaper and quieter, there’s this Redragon gaming keyboard. It is a membrane (and it’ll cost you less than $30), but its precision-engineered keycaps are responsive and clicky, while its solid ABS waterproof frame is more durable than most. Among its other noteworthy features, you’ll find 12 multimedia keys, a colorful backlight with six modes and four brightness levels, and anti-ghosting up to 25 keys at once.

One reviewer wrote: “I've had a number of cheap membrane keyboard over the years, and this is one of the best-feeling I've used. It has a great tactile bump and just the right amount of travel. The sound of the key presses, with the tactile feel, as well as the satin feel of the texture of the keys (very smooth and clean), all come together to give this keyboard a ‘velvety’ or ‘milky’ feel while typing.”

Compatible operating systems: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10; Limited Mac OS support | Connectivity technology: USB | Anti-Ghosting: yes

5. A comfortable keyboard for Windows

Pros:

  • Ergonomically designed for fast, comfortable typing
  • Built-in shortcut keys things like for multimedia, search, and emojis
  • Reliable speed and accuracy

Cons:

  • Not waterproof or backlit
  • Limited compatibility

An ergonomic keyboard usually has curved, split keys rather than rows that are straight across; this allows you to type while positioning your wrists at a more natural angle — and this Microsoft ergonomic keyboard is one of the best in the membrane category. It has an overall 4.5-star rating after more than 4,000 reviews, with some customers calling it a “life-saver” for those who type all day or experience wrist discomfort. It also has a cushioned palm rest, a raised center, and ample built-in shortcut keys for convenient everyday use. However, the brand doesn’t note if it has anti-ghosting technology.

One reviewer wrote: “Quiet and perfect size keyboard. My wrists were killing me using standard keyboard we had at work. After about a week of using this — all better!”

Compatible operating systems: Windows 10; limited for Windows 7 and 8.1 | Connectivity technology: USB | Anti-Ghosting: unclear

6. The best Bluetooth membrane keyboard

Pros:

  • Connects wirelessly to most devices (both Bluetooth and USB dongle)
  • Has automatic backlighting
  • Durable, ergonomic, quiet, and beautifully designed
  • One-year limited hardware warranty

Cons:

  • Expensive

Finally, if you’re willing to spend over $100 on a membrane keyboard, the Logitech MX Keys Advanced keyboard is worth the splurge for several reasons: For one, it connects wirelessly to up to three devices using Bluetooth or a dongle. For another, it’s USB-C rechargeable (for up to 10 days of use on a single charge) and compatible with almost all major operating systems. Last but not least, additional features include automatic backlighting that detects the presence of your hands, ergonomically designed keys that match the shape of your fingertips, a metal-plate construction for durability, and a typing experience that’s precise, responsive, tactile, and super quiet, all at the same time.

One reviewer wrote: “This keyboard cost way more than I had hoped to spend, but now that I have bought and returned at least 3 others, I realize it is absolutely a bargain. [...] Number one, it is as close to silent as is humanly possible. [...] Number two, it has a buttery smooth, responsive feel that requires only very light touches, and the keys travel a trivial distance without ANY sideways shimmying.”

Compatible operating systems: Windows 10, 11, or later; Linux; Chrome OS; MacOS; iPadOS; Android | Connectivity technology: Bluetooth or USB dongle | Anti-Ghosting: yes

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