The best tablet keyboards can transform your device into a mini laptop so you can work wherever you happen to be. It’s a setup that works particularly well if you’re a creative who spends a lot of time travelling, and makes replying to emails, preparing invoices and carrying out everyday admin far easier than typing on a touchscreen.
A tablet is an easy-to-use entertainment device, thanks to that touch screen. But for getting any real work done, a keyboard is a welcome accessory and turns your device into a small personal computer. Whether you have an iPad, Windows device, or Android tablet like the Galaxy Tab and Amazon Fire, there’s a keyboard case out there ready to complement it. Here are the best tablet keyboards to buy right now.
Tablet Keyboards Features
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of different tablet keyboard models available. Here are the features that matter most.
- Multi-device support: Many tablet keyboards can connect to different devices and then let you easily flip between them. So, for example, if you have a tablet, smartphone, and desktop computer, you can connect your keyboard with all of them simultaneously and then use a physical dial to select which device you want to interact with.
- Backlighting: If you’ll be using your tablet keyboard in darker spaces, consider getting one with backlighting. Backlighting illuminates the keys with colored lights, which makes them a lot easier to see in the dark.
- Kickstand: Any Bluetooth keyboard can be a tablet keyboard, but if you’re buying just for that device, then getting one with a built-in kickstand is a good idea. Some keyboards have an open slot at the top that’s just big enough to fit your tablet, while others have an adjustable stand that allows you to see your tablet from a variety of different angles. Consider this a must-have feature.
5 Best Tablet Keyboards in 2021:
The Apple Smart Keyboard Folio is a seriously expensive piece of kit, but if you’ve already invested heavily in an iPad Pro for your creative work then the extra cost could be easy to justify – particularly as it’ll help you get more value from your tablet. The Smart Keyboard Folio won’t spoil your iPad Pro’s looks thanks to its super thin design, and connecting it is a simple matter of bringing it close to your tablet’s Smart Connector and letting the magnets do the work.
Unlike the standard Smart Keyboard above, this one protects both sides of your tablet so there’s no need for a separate cover. It’s a shame that it lacks a trackpad at this price point, but it does hold your tablet at a convenient working angle. This particular Smart Keyboard Folio is designed for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but Apple Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro 10.5-inch is also available.
- Extremely slim
- Protects your iPad
- Very expensive
- No trackpad
The Arteck Universal Keyboard connects with just about every Bluetooth device: iPad Air, iPad Mini, Android, MacOS, Windows Tablets, PC Smartphones and more. The Arteck is Amazon’s number one bestseller due to its compatibility, design, battery life and affordable price.
Most of the other keyboards listed here use battery power directly from the mobile device you use to connect it with. The Arteck has a rechargeable lithium battery with an industry-capacity of half a year between charges based off two hours of use per day with the backlight off.
It’s thin and light, weighing less than six ounces and measuring 9.3 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches. Unfortunately, unlike many other keyboards on the list, it doesn’t dock your device, so you won’t have that laptop style transformation.
The Arteck comes with a USB charging cable, welcome guide and a 24-month warranty, along with customer service. The device comes in seven LED backlight colors that you can change based off your preference (red, light green, green/yellow, purple, cyan, green and blue).
- Sturdy brushed metal body
- Reachable battery, lasts long on a single charge
- Chicklet style keyboard with backlit keys
- Keys are not that durable
- There’s no Numeric keypad
Microsoft has the Surface Go and Surface Pro line of tablets, but they don’t come with a keyboard. Instead of grabbing a generic Bluetooth keyboard and a cover that will protect the device and act as a stand, you can add Microsoft’s own Surface Type Cover to get all three.
These attachments give your tablet the full keyboard you would expect from a laptop. Whether you have a Go, or the more expensive Pro, you get a full-mechanical keyset with backlit keys and a glass trackpad. As an added bonus, the Type Cover can be folded back as a kickstand or closed to protect the device.
This keyboard is compatible with Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets. Its viewing angles aren’t adjustable, but the fixed one is great nonetheless.
The Surface Pro Type Cover is detachable since it uses hard shell case design, but is only usable when attached to the tablet since it uses the docking interface for connection.
- Foldable minimalist design
- Long lasting reachable battery
- Chicklet style keyboard
- Spill proof keyboard
- A bit costly compared to others
- Not a super durable product
Made for your iPad Air (5th Generation), the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover comes with built-in Bluetooth connectivity, full-size keys, and iOS shortcuts for fast typing. Its price tag is hefty, but where it falls short on its expenses it makes up for with sturdiness and functionality.
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard keeps your iPad in place similar to the Apple iPad Keyboard. Instead of docking your device, though, it has magnetic grooves to hold your iPad upright at the perfect angle for typing and interacting with your touch screen. The device houses and protects your iPad in a thin yet durable aluminum casing, and can close together with its powerful magnetic clips, keeping the cover and iPad perfectly aligned and secured.
One of the most troubling features of any iDevice is the tedious way of copying, pasting and undoing, and this keyboard makes up for that by including shortcuts for all three functions. It also comes with an auto wake/sleep feature that powers your iPad on when you open up the case and sleeps when you close it. Colors comes in space grey and white.
- For all operating systems
- Super quiet typing
- Non-slip rubber cradle
- Rather large
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Thin Keyboard is another premium tablet keyboard that uses a simple pin connection to avoid tricky Bluetooth pairing. It comes in three colors (black, silver and red), and you can even choose to have Lenovo’s signature TrackPoint nestled among the blacklit keys in addition to the large trackpad that supports multi-touch gestures. Supports three keyboard positions too, so you can choose the most comfortable option whether you’re working at a cafe, on your lap, or presenting to a client.
It carries a premium price tag, but if you have a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 tablet then it’ll be well worth the investment, effectively putting a full ThinkPad laptop at your disposal.
- Optional Lenovo Trackpoint
- White backlight
- Choice of working positions
Tablet Keyboards Prices
- Inexpensive: Between $15 and $30, you’ll find a lot of solid values, so long as you’re okay with a tablet-sized keyboard, which is smaller than a standard keyboard. If you’re in the market for a tablet keyboard that you can take with you, or you simply need one that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, there are plenty of options in this price range.
- Mid-range: Between $30 and $80, tablet keyboards offer the basics plus some key benefits. Models in this price range often support multi-device connections or are made of higher-quality materials. If you want a tablet keyboard that will last for the full life of your tablet, plan on spending this much.
- Expensive: Tablet keyboards that cost more than $80 are usually part of luxury tablet cases designed around transforming your tablet into a laptop. Paying this much for a tablet keyboard can be a bitter pill to swallow, but if you’re serious about productivity, it can be worth it.
What to Look for in a Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard
- Layout – Before you decide on a keyboard layout, you’ll want to consider how much room you have on your desk and how portable you want the keyboard to be. A standard keyboard will have arrow/navigation keys, function keys, a numpad, and perhaps even programmable keys, while a TenKeyLess keyboard—what you find on most laptops—lacks a numpad. There are a variety of layouts, so consider how compact of a keyboard you want.
- Backlighting – Gamers will likely value backlighting more so than a business user. However, if you think you’ll be spending dark nights hunched over your keyboard, backlighting is something you should consider. Some models even offer the option to change the color of the backlighting, although that drains the battery life faster.
- Ergonomics – Comfort is crucial in a keyboard because you’ll probably spend a good chunk of time in front of it. Keyboards with adjustable height and tilt often provide a better typing angle for your wrists. If the keyboard doesn’t come with a built-in wrist rest, you can always consider buying a separate one.