Laptops and tablets let us work from anywhere in the world, whether that’s a co-working space, coffee shop, or airport lounge. Working for long hours hunched over a device can be uncomfortable, however, and cause pain and injury longer-term.
Putting a bit of effort into the ergonomics of your work environment makes a big difference, something that took me far too long to figure out. Investing in a proper mobile office setup made me more productive and less prone to wrist, finger, and back pain, even when working from a hotel room or cafe.
A vital part of that setup is the keyboard, which is more comfortable to use than a laptop and increases both typing speed and accuracy. You likely have a full-size keyboard and mouse at home, but something lightweight and specifically designed for travel is a better option if you’re on the road or work from coffeeshops regularly.
Most portable keyboard models are Bluetooth-enabled, and can be used with both laptops and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. While traditional wireless keyboards typically rely on USB dongles, these mobile Bluetooth keyboards are more versatile and don’t rely on a small, easily-lost component.
These aren’t just work tools: many people use a small keyboard like this to control apps on their smart TV, or to run a computer from the couch. If this is your intended use, be sure to look for a model with an adequate wireless range, typically at least fifteen feet.
When shopping for a portable keyboard, the main factors to consider are its size and weight, comfort and noise levels while typing, compatibility with the devices you use, and battery life. Durability is also important: the lightest, quietest keyboard is no use if it breaks within a few weeks.
We’ve tested many different models over the years, and figured out what’s worth buying and what’s best ignored. Whether you’re looking for an ergonomic option for work, a lightweight travel keyboard, or an ultra-compact model for smartphone use, these are the best portable keyboards right now.
- Size: 10.9 x 4.9 x 0.6 inches
- Weight: 14.9 ounces
- Battery Life: Up to two years from 2x AAA batteries
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Size: 12.4 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
- Weight: 18.5 ounces
- Battery Life: Up to 48 hours of continual use from internal rechargeable battery
- Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth, wired
- Size: 14.9 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
- Weight: 30.9 ounces
- Battery Life: Up to two years from 1x C battery
- Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth
- Size: 9.7 x 5.9 x 0.2 inches
- Weight: 7.6 ounces
- Battery Life: Up to six months from internal rechargeable battery
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Size: 11.2 x 4.7 x 0.2 inches
- Weight: 9.9 ounces
- Battery Life: Up to 30 days from 2x AA batteries
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Size: 14 x 5.5 x 1 inches
- Weight: 13.8 ounces
- Battery Life: Up to 18 months from 2x AA batteries
- Connectivity: USB
- Size: 10 x 3.5 x 0.3 inches (when extended)
- Weight: 6.2 ounces
- Battery Life: Up to 40 hours of continual use from internal rechargeable battery
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
Best Portable Keyboard: Logitech K380
Logitech is a major manufacturer of computer accessories, and the company makes dozens of different keyboards. One of its most popular compact models is the Logitech K380, and for good reason.
Inexpensive and lightweight, the K380 appears somewhat flimsy at first glance, but looks can be deceptive: both the typing experience and durability have significantly exceeded my expectations.
The rounded keys take a little getting used to, but the travel and key gap is no different to other portable keyboards, and you should be typing at full speed within a day or two. The keys can be a bit “clacky” if you’re typing with some force, but are pretty quiet in normal use.
Measuring roughly 11 by 5 inches and weighing under 15oz, it takes up minimal space in your bag. Narrower than most 13″ laptops, it slides easily into a daypack, and you’ll probably barely notice it’s there. It lived in my backpack for a year of continual travel, and held up to the abuse just fine.
The keyboard can pair with up to three devices at once via Bluetooth, and you can switch between them via the function keys at the top. It’s quick to connect, typically taking less than a second, and doesn’t drop out or miss keystrokes even when typing quickly.
The K380 comes in a small range of colors, and two variants: one with a Windows-focused keyboard layout, and one for Mac. All versions will work on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Chrome OS, but it’s worth getting the keyboard layout you’re most familiar with.
The keyboard runs from a pair of AAA batteries (included) that are rated for up to two years of use before needing replacing. As long as you turn the keyboard off when you won’t be using it for a while, that number seems pretty accurate: I’ve only replaced one set of batteries in the 18+ months I’ve owned mine.
A comfortable, reliable option that’s easy to travel with and is priced very reasonably for what it offers, this is our top portable keyboard pick right now. You can find my full Logitech K380 review here.Buy on Amazon
Best Mechanical Portable Keyboard: NuPhy Air75
Can’t stand the “squishy” feeling of typing on most laptop and quiet-touch keyboards? Like to game as you travel and can’t stand the latency of a standard Bluetooth keyboard? A portable mechanical keyboard may well be the answer to both problems.
While most models are far too big and heavy to even consider traveling with, a few companies have spotted an opportunity to make smaller, lighter versions. Our favorite is the NuPhy Air75, which is 75% the size of a traditional desktop keyboard, but doesn’t compromise at all on the typing experience.
At just 12.4″ wide and 0.6″ thick, it’s smaller than some of the other models discussed here, and even the 18.5oz weight stacks up well against all but the tiniest travel keyboards. If you’re set on a mechanical keyboard, you’ll struggle to find much smaller or lighter than this, especially anything made this well.
The typing experience is a delight, and while any mechanical keys are going to require more force than tapping away on your laptop, the Air75 doesn’t go overboard. Choose between low-profile brown, clicky blue, or linear red switches at time of purchase; you can swap them out later if you change your mind.
You’ve got an array of connection options, more than anything else on this list. As well as connecting to three Bluetooth devices simultaneously, you can plug in the bundled USB receiver to control a fourth device. Run a USB C cable to your computer, and you can even use it as a wired keyboard while it charges.
Build quality is very impressive, with plenty of metal used throughout: this keyboard can take a beating. If you’re one for RGB lighting, the individually-lit keys and wide range of customization options in the bundled software means you’re in for a treat.
Battery life is reasonable, at approximately 48 hours of use between charges of the internal battery. Plan to charge it once a week if you’re using it all day, every day.
Mechanical keyboards are a bit of a divisive issue when it comes to travel. While many people love the firm, tactile touch they offer, even the quietest mechanical keys and switches are noticeably louder than the average laptop or scissor-switch keyboard.
As a result, we’d generally suggest that portable mechanical keyboards are best used in hotel rooms and Airbnb’s rather than libraries or quiet cafes when you’re traveling, but at the end of the day, it’s entirely up to you.
If you do decide that mechanical is the way to go, it’s very hard to go past the NuPhy Air75.Buy on Amazon
Best Portable Keyboard With Stand: Logitech K780
Small keyboards are ideal for travel, but if you have large hands or an especially-high typing speed, the smaller keys and reduced gap between them can be a problem. Likewise, if you do a lot of data entry work, the lack of a number pad can also be frustrating.
If that sounds like you, check out Logitech's K780. It has full-sized keys, a proper number pad, and a familiar layout, but is still a reasonable size for travel. Compact yet comfortable, it sits somewhere between ultra-portable models and standard desktop keyboards.
Like many Logitech keyboards, the K780 lets you quickly and seamlessly switch between devices. It can pair with up to three devices at once, and you can easily switch between them via the first three function buttons in the upper left corner.
It’s compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Chrome OS, so you can use it with all your favorite devices. Many competing brands offer this broad device compatibility, but few can actually remember multiple devices and easily switch between them.
Because the Logitech K780 has a wide stand built into the top of keyboard, it’s our pick if you’re planning to do a lot of typing on your phone and tablet. The simple device switching means you could be working away on your laptop, and quickly switch the keyboard to your phone to reply to a text.
That integrated stand is a useful feature for some, especially anyone who wants to use a full-sized keyboard with their tablet or phone, but a downside for others. It’s not removeable, and adds bulk and weight to an otherwise slim keyboard, making it a bit less portable than it could be.
The K780 has both Bluetooth and USB dongle connection options: with any keyboard, the latter tends to be a bit more reliable for computers, while the former is essential for mobile devices. It’s powered by one C battery, from which you can expect anything up to two years of normal use before it needs replacing.
Given the extra size and weight, this isn’t the keyboard we’d choose to drop in our carry-on before a flight. If you’re more likely to move it around the house than around the world, however, the full-size layout and useful stand makes it a solid option for many.Buy on Amazon
Best Travel Keyboard: Arteck HB030B
For those looking for a lightweight travel-friendly keyboard, the Arteck HB030B is the way to go. This slim, compact model weighs less than eight ounces and measures just 9.7 x 5.9 x 0.2 inches. It doesn’t have a number pad, which shaves off a bit of width.
The built-in rechargeable battery lasts anywhere up to an impressive six months before needing to be charged up again. That’s based on around two hours of use per day: scale that timeframe up or down as needed based on how much typing your expect to do.
The Arteck HB030B connects to devices via Bluetooth. As such, it’s compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled device running one of the standard operating systems (iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows). It also has limited Linux support: some function keys don’t work correctly.
Unlike the Logitech models mentioned above, though, it can only remember one device at a time, so isn’t designed for rapid switching back and forth.
The HB030B has seven backlighting color options and two brightness levels. This adds some style, but not for long: the light turns off after 15 seconds of inactivity. This preserves battery life, but the switching on and off can be a bit distracting.
Apart from the backlighting, the only real downside to this model is its durability. The ultra-slim design makes it slightly more prone to damage, particularly when it’s constantly going in and out of a backpack. It does have a 24-month warranty, but this only covers manufacturing defects, not accidental damage.Buy on Amazon
Best Budget Portable Keyboard: OMOTON Ultra-Slim Keyboard
For anyone looking for a budget-friendly mobile keyboard, the OMOTON Ultra-Slim is an excellent choice. This is a simple, efficient little keyboard that connects via Bluetooth and offers basic functionality across a range of mobile devices.
It’s nice and compact at 11.2 x 4.7 x 0.2 inches, and weighs just under ten ounces. The size makes it quite portable, while still remaining comfortable to type on. You probably won’t be typing quite as quickly as you would on a full-size keyboard, but it’s certainly not bad.
Running on AA batteries, you can expect a decent if not amazing battery life of around a month of regular use. An operating range of 10 meters (32 feet) means that you can also use this model from the couch.
The OMOTON is designed for use with iPads, iPhones, and other iOS devices, and all the function keys are iOS-specific. It also works with other Bluetooth-enabled devices, including Windows PCs, but oddly doesn’t support certain models of MacBook. It’s worth checking the full device compatibility list on the Amazon listing before purchase.
Very much in the “cheap and cheerful” camp, this is a good option for use around the house and occasional trips away. It’s not particularly durable, however, so we’d probably look elsewhere for a keyboard you plan to use regularly on the road.Buy on Amazon
Best Portable Keyboard with Trackpad: Logitech K400 Plus
The Logitech K400 Plus is the ultimate couch keyboard. It includes a trackpad, allowing for complete control of a device without the need for an external mouse or touchscreen. Combined with a 33-foot wireless range, this feature makes the K400 perfect for controlling devices from a distance.
The K400 Plus could also be a decent travel keyboard for those who don’t want to purchase a mouse separately, although it’s not small: at 14 inches wide, the trackpad adds substantial width. The unit weighs under 14 ounces, though, so it’s not especially heavy for its size.
This model connects to devices via a USB dongle, but doesn’t have Bluetooth, which means it won’t be compatible with mobile devices. As such, the versatility of this device is more limited, and it’s clearly intended for use with home theater and smart TVs rather than for serious work.
If you want an all-in-one device for that purpose, however, this keyboard is as good as it gets.Buy on Amazon
Best Portable Keyboard for Phones: iClever BK06
The most portable keyboard on this list is the iClever BK06, which uses a folding design to get down to somewhere around pocket size. A large pocket, perhaps, but a pocket nonetheless.
Measuring 13.2 x 4.0 inches when extended, it folds down to 6.5 x 4.0 inches, not much bigger than a large smartphone. Weighing just 6.2 ounces, this is a keyboard that you can always have with you, and could use for quickly jotting down notes or responding to texts on your phone.
The iClever BK06 turns off automatically when folded up to conserve battery. It connects to most Bluetooth-enabled devices, including phones and tablets (Android or iOS), and comes with a free stand to prop up your mobile device. It works with Mac and Windows computers as well.
Like the Logitech K380 and K780 mentioned above, the BK06 can remember up to three devices at once, and easily switch between them.
The 13-inch width is close to full size, meaning most people shouldn’t feel too cramped while using it. The company makes even smaller models of keyboard as well, but we think the trade-off between size, comfort, and productivity with those is a little too great.
Tri-fold versions of this keyboard are also available, including one with a backlight and another with a touchpad. They’re a similar size to the BK06, and may suit some people better depending on your exact requirements.Buy on Amazon
Main image via Goumbik, product images via Amazon