Mobile devices and laptops let us work from anywhere in the world, be it an office space, coffee shop, or an airport lounge. Working for long hours slumped over a device can be uncomfortable, however, and cause pain and injury longer-term.
For anyone looking to stay productive on the road, purchasing a quality portable keyboard can help improve the ergonomics of your work environment and ensure faster, less error-prone typing.
You likely have a full-size keyboard and mouse at home, but these can be clunky to travel with. Purchasing a keyboard that’s lightweight and specifically designed for travel and mobile use is worthwhile.
Many of these models are Bluetooth enabled, and can be used with both laptops and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. While traditional wireless keyboards typically rely on USB dongles, these mobile Bluetooth keyboards offer greater versatility and portability.
Looking for a complete ergonomic workstation while on the go? Pair a portable keyboard with a compact mouse and quality laptop stand, and you will have a comfortable mobile work solution. You could also opt to simply place your laptop on a raised surface, using a separate mouse and keyboard to create a basic standing workstation.
A quality portable keyboard can also be beneficial for leisure time. Many people use a small keyboard 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 of at least fifteen feet.
When shopping for a portable keyboard, the most important factors to keep in mind are size, comfort, device compatibility, and battery life. We’ve checked out dozens of options, and feel confident stating that whether you’re looking for an ergonomic keyboard for work, the perfect travel keyboard, or an ultra-compact model for smartphone use, these are the best portable keyboards available today.
- 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: 6.3 ounces
- Battery Life: 30+ days from internal rechargeable battery
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
Best Portable Keyboard: Logitech K780
Logitech is a leader in the computer accessories industry, and the company offers dozens of different keyboard models. Its most popular compact keyboard is the Logitech K780, and for good reason.
The K780 has full-sized keys, a full number pad, and a familiar layout. At 0.9 x 6.2 x 14.9 inches, it is moderately sized, offering a compact yet comfortable option that’s somewhere in between ultra-portable models and standard desktop keyboards.
It weighs 30.9 ounces, which is substantially more than the average weight of models on this list, but still less than a typical desktop keyboard. The result, however, is a highly functional, comfortable typing experience in a relatively portable package.
Where the K780 truly shines is in its ability to seamlessly switch between devices. It can pair with up to three devices at once, and a row of buttons in the upper left corner of the device allows the user to easily switch between them.
It’s compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Chrome OS, so you can use it with all your favorite devices. Many competing models offer this broad device compatibility, but few can actually remember multiple devices and easily switch between them.
The K780 offers dual connectivity, with both Bluetooth and USB dongle connection options. This is a substantial benefit, as USB connections tend to be a bit more reliable for computers, while Bluetooth is essential for mobile devices. It is powered by one C battery, which Logitech claims offers up to two years of normal use.
The newest version of the Logitech K780 has a phone and tablet stand built into the keyboard. It allows you to place your mobile device in a slanted position for easy viewing while using the keyboard to type. Because of the simple device switching, you could be working on your laptop, and quickly switch the keyboard to your phone to reply to a text message.
The integrated phone stand is a nice feature for some, but for others, it will be the primary downside of this device. The stand adds substantial bulk (and weight) to an otherwise slim keyboard, making it a bit less portable. Unfortunately you can’t remove the stand from the keyboard, which feels like an oversight. Apart from this minor gripe, however, this is a versatile, comfortable keyboard that’s excellent for typing on nearly any device.Buy on Amazon
Best Travel Keyboard: Arteck HB030B
For those looking for a truly travel-friendly keyboard, the Arteck HB030B is a great option. This is a slim, compact model, weighing about 7.6 ounces and measuring 9.7 x 5.9 x 0.2 inches. It doesn’t have a number pad, which saves a few inches of width compared to models like the Logitech K780.
It includes a built-in rechargeable battery, with an impressive life of up to six months (which the manufacturer defines as two hours of use per day) before needing to be charged up again.
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, Mac and Windows). It also works with Linux, although it’s not fully compatible: some function keys don’t work correctly on Linux devices. Unlike the K780, though, it can only remember one device at a time, so isn’t designed for rapid switching back and forth.
One unique feature of this keyboard is its backlighting, with seven color options (deep blue, soft blue, bright green, soft green, red, purple, and cyan) and two brightness levels. This adds some style, but one drawback is that the light turns off after 15 seconds without activity. This preserves battery life, but can also be a bit distracting.
Apart from the backlighting issue, the only real downside to this model is that it is a bit less durable than some higher-end keyboards. It’s 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. It’s pleasantly compact, at 0.2 x 11.2 x 4.7 inches and a weight of 9.9 ounces. The size makes it quite portable, but still comfortable to type on.
This keyboard runs on AA batteries, and has a decent battery life of up to 30 days with continuous use. An operating range of 10 meters (32 feet) means that you could 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. However, it also works with other Bluetooth-enabled devices, including Windows PCs. Oddly enough, it doesn’t support certain models of the Macbook Pro. We recommend checking the full device compatibility list on the Amazon listing before purchasing.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 a device from a distance.
The K400 Plus could also be a decent travel keyboard for those who don’t want to purchase a mouse separately. It’s moderately portable, at 1 x 5.5 x 14 inches (the trackpad adds substantial width), and weighs just under 14 ounces.
This model connects to devices via a USB dongle. It doesn’t have Bluetooth, which means it won’t be compatible with mobile devices. As such, the versatility of this device is more limited. If you really want that inbuilt trackpad, though, this keyboard is as good as it gets.Buy on Amazon
Best Portable Keyboard for Phones: iClever BK03
The most portable keyboard on this list is the iClever BK03. This unique model features a tri-fold design that folds down to (quite literally) pocket size.
Measuring 0.3 x 10 x 3.5 inches when extended, it folds down to 5.75 x 3.5 inches, roughly the size of a common smartphone. Weighing just 6.3 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 BK03 turns off automatically when folded up to conserve battery. It connects to most Bluetooth-enabled devices, including mobile devices (Android and iOS) and computers (Mac and PC). Like the Logitech K780 featured as our top pick, the BK03 can connect to and remember up to three devices at once, and easily switches between them.
At 10 inches across, however, the design of this keyboard can feel cramped for those used to full-sized keyboards. This is another reason that this keyboard is best used with phones: for productive computer use, larger keys make for a more comfortable experience and fewer errors. For on-the-go use with mobile devices, however, it’s tough to beat the iClever BK03.Buy on Amazon
Main image via Goumbik, product images via Amazon