The 7 Best Membrane Keyboards to Buy in 2020
Because the noise of a mechanical keyboard isn't for everyone
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If you’re not loving the clicking and clacking of a mechanical keyboard, a membrane keyboard might be right for you. Most keyboards are membrane keyboards, consisting not of separate parts, but one flat underlying surface with pressure pads that you activate via keystrokes. The keys may not have a strong tactile feel when you press down on them, but they have the advantage of requiring less pressure and being quieter. Whether you’re interested in ergonomics, a budget-friendly price tag, or both, we’ve rounded up the best membrane keyboard that you can buy for both office and personal uses.
Best Overall: Logitech G213 Keyboard
Logitech’s G213 is one of the best membrane keyboards you can get for less than $50. It has the bells and whistles of a luxurious entry-level gaming keyboard. At the top of the keyboard, you’ll find an extra set of keys for gaming, media, and lighting. The keycaps are tall and replicate the satisfying click of a mechanical switch, though they don’t require that much pressure to respond and are relatively quiet. The keyboard also incorporates anti-ghosting technology, meaning that you can smoothly use multiple keys at once, without fail. It’s also spill-proof, safeguarding you from the headache of needing to buy a new keyboard in the case of an accidental splash. There's an attractive rainbow backlight that you can customize in over 16.8 million different ways, including effects such as color cycling and breathing. For long sessions at the computer, take advantage of the palm rest attached to the keyboard.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Razer Cynosa Chroma Keyboard
The Cynosa Chroma from Razer is a competent membrane keyboard that’s prized for its low cost and high quality. Its design is spill resistant so it stays safe at all times. The keys feel soft to the touch and are quiet due to the rubber dome build, and you’ll be able to make up to ten commands with them at once. Some helpful keys include ones for media, volume, recording, gaming, backlights, sleep, and LED indicators. You can customize its RGB backlight in 16.8 million different ways through the Razer Synapse 3 program. The keyboard doesn’t have a special ergonomic wrist pad, but there are adjustable feet to suit the height of your hands when you type. While it doesn’t have clicky mechanical switches, many reviewers still said that they loved its soft feel and response time. If you need help setting it up or don't quite love it, it comes with free online support as well as a one-year warranty.
Best Budget: Rii RK100+ Multiple Color Keyboard
Coming with 104 standard keys, Rii’s RK100+ replicates the feel of a semi-mechanical keyboard without the steep price tag. It features a set rainbow backlight with nicely separated keys, so it’s easy to use in different light settings. The lights turn off after 10 minutes of idleness and automatically turn on again when you stroke any key. To turn the lights on and off, you can also use the Fn key with the up and down arrows to adjust the levels. The membrane keyboard is compatible with most systems, though the backlight feature won't work with Mac computers. Additionally, for a full-size keyboard, it’s light and easy to transport, weighing under two pounds.
Best Ergonomic: Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard for Business
Microsoft’s ergonomic keyboard focuses on a design that maximizes comfort and productivity whether you’re zipping through an email or engaging in an intense gaming session. The split keyset encourages you to position your wrist and forearms in a natural position. The membrane keyboard also has a dome shape and cushioned palm rest to get you to put your wrists in the proper position. Want to take it off the wrist rest? All you need to do is pull it off since it attaches with a magnet. Additionally, the number pad is separate from the rest of the apparatus so you can arrange your desktop however you like and pull it out when you're doing a numbers-heavy task. Another space-saving feature is the lack of wires, as the ergonomic keyboard uses a dongle that connects it to your computer.
Best Slim: Kensington Slim Wired Keyboard
If you’re interested in a modern Apple keyboard but don’t quite have the budget for one, the Kensington Slim Wired Keyboard is a great alternative. The minimalist computer accessory looks great on any desktop and is a workhorse device. The full-sized keyboard weighs only 2.15 pounds and measures 0.75 inches thick. Its low-profile, laptop-inspired keys are quiet but also offer precise control and good feedback without requiring a lot of pressure to use. A few of the most useful and easily accessible buttons include volume, mute, and sleep. The keyboard also has rubberized soles so it won't move around while you’re using it. Plus, you’ll find kickstands beneath it that elevate it at a 30-degree angle.
Best for Accuracy: Typematrix 2030 Reach Keyboard
One of the most ergonomic solutions for typing, the Typematrix 2030 Reach Keyboard has straight vertical columns so it’s easy to type accurately and comfortably. That said, most users will likely go through a learning curve when trying it out. The arrangement is different from what most people are accustomed to using. The backspace and enter keys, for example, are at the center of the membrane keyboard since they are commonly used. With this form, you won’t need to reach your pinky to execute these functions. Other things to keep in mind: the keyboard uses a USB cable and is lightweight at 1.75 pounds. FYI: the keys are thin and similar to laptop keys, so it's not the best choice for a mechanical keyboard lover.
Best Hybrid: Razer Ornata Chroma Mecha-Membrane Keyboard
Razer's Ornata Chroma combines the best of both worlds with a mecha-membrane form. It has a cushioned membrane rubber dome that is comfortable for long sessions as well as a tactile mechanical click that provides feedback for fast typing without requiring too much finger pressure. The keys are mid-height, so they’re not as low as a laptop keyboard and produce a satisfying clicking when you press them. The membrane keyboard also has anti-ghosting technology that allows you to perform up to ten commands at once. It incorporates an ergonomic magnetic leatherette wrist rest, which is easy to remove when you need to clean it or save desk space. The lighting is also a well-enjoyed feature. Each key has an individual backlight that’s powered by Razer Chroma with different options to create a colorful look.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular membrane keyboards on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different keyboards overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, read over 75 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 2 of the keyboards themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.