Best mechanical keyboards: Top retro picks for your desk
Whether it's for work or play, upgrade your desk setup with an old-school mechanical keyboard.
As technology progresses, it often tends to go in a slimmer, more compact direction, and computer keyboards are no exception. Keyboards changed from chunky and chatty to slim and silent, but the deep keys and clackety clicks of a mechanical keyboard remain popular. There's something incredibly satisfying about mechanical keyboards, with their individual springs and switches that provide a distinctive clicking sound and feel. Enthusiastic gamers and typists often prefer the mechanical route due to the precision it offers.
While some mechanical keyboards maintain their clunky, 1980s office block retro appearance, others have been given a contemporary twist with funky designs and additional lighting effects. So whether you miss the familiar tapping sound, or simply fancy a workspace or gaming revamp, embrace the nostalgia and take a mechanical keyboard for a spin.
For more vintage tech, check out our list of retro gadgets.
The best mechanical keyboards for 2022
Perixx full-size keyboard
This pick from Perixx certainly has a classic look thanks to its off-white and grey appearance. So if you fancy a trip down memory lane, this could be a solid option. It features a curved frame and adjustable feet in order to create a tilt, so it's been designed with comfort in mind. You can store any excess cable on the back of the keyboard using the cable management system. This is a welcomed feature for those who can't stand a messy, cluttered desk.
The spherical keys are plump, and have a concave design so your fingers sit nicely on top. It works alongside Windows 7, 8 and 10 and weighs just over one kilogram, so it's a sturdy design that should last a while!
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Havit mechanical keyboard
This quirky mechanical keyboard features brightly coloured keys that are sure to brighten up a dull office scene, but it's the layout that makes this mechanical keyboard an interesting choice.
Rather than featuring over 100 keys, like a traditional, full-size keyboard, this mechanical keyboard only features 89. It preserves the commonly used number keys, and you'll notice the number pad sits above the arrow keys, allowing more space for your mouse. This makes this choice a handy space-saving solution if you're tight for room and fancy a compact keyboard.
It's recommended for both gamers and workers, so it's bound to become a well-used item in your household. It works with a number of systems including Windows 7, 8, 10, XP, Vista and Mac OS.
Rymek typewriter style mechanical keyboard
Writing your first novel and fancy looking the part? This typewriter mechanical keyboard is a nice mix of old-fashioned and modern. It pairs with devices through Bluetooth so you can work on your laptop, tablet and smartphone while feeling the benefits of a responsive mechanical keyboard.
There's a convenient stand so you can prop up your device. Another appealing feature is the backlight, which is helpful when you're working late at night. It's also available with rose pink keys if you're after a jazzier design.
Check out the best office gadgets for more desk tech.
Drop Entr mechanical keyboard
This mechanical keyboard is a great pick for gamers and fast typists as it features N-key rollover. This means it can detect and register every keystroke, even when pressed simultaneously, so it can keep up with quick typing and intense gaming when you're pushing lots of keys at the same time.
It also features Gateron Yellow switches which are renowned for their smooth, linear action. They aren't too heavy either, if you prefer a lighter feel when you're typing. Despite its 1980s vibe, it's backlit, which is always a useful feature.
We love the charcoal and light blue colours of this pick, which makes it interesting without being too loud a design.
Filco Majestouch-2 tenkeyless keyboard
This is another mechanical keyboard that boasts N-key rollover qualities, but this one is far more modern in appearance. So if you're after the mechanical feel without the brightly coloured or overly old-fashioned design, this is a great option. Its sleek appearance allows it to slot into a modern office space without looking out of place.
It's a space-saver as it's missing the number pad, so if you can get by without the calculator function, it's a neat choice. This keyboard features Cherry MX Brown switches, so you should feel the tactile bump when typing. These switches aren't as loud as the Cherry MX Blue switches which produce an audible clicking sound, so Brown is perhaps a good option if you prefer a quieter typing experience.
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BOYI 60% mechanical keyboard
Looking to brighten up your office space? This mechanical keyboard is neat, vibrant and certainly eye-catching. It's a 60% keyboard with only 61 keys, so if your work only involves the most common of keys, it's an easy way to save desk space. It's roughly 30cm long so it's a portable pick. With 10 different lighting modes, and interactive gaming options, this is a fun and entertaining option.
Keychron hot-swap tactile keyboard
This keyboard has keycaps for both Windows and macOS, so it's is a versatile choice that lets you work effortlessly between different devices. Not every keyboard features Mac multimedia keys so it's a particularly appealing feature if you're a Mac fan. There are 18 different kinds of backlight, including static white and flashing, so you can liven up your gaming, or spreadsheet, sessions, depending on your mood.
Personalisation is also an option here as this is a hot-swappable keyboard which allows you to change your switches with ease whenever you fancy a change! Hot-swappable keyboards are useful if you're new to the mechanical keyboard game as you can test out different switches, and decide whether you prefer a linear, clicky or tactile feel when you're typing.
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Rachel Howatson is a digital writer who works across a range of Immediate’s special interest brands. Whatever your passion, whether it’s hillwalking, cooking, gardening, running, socialising or even sleeping, she'll likely have written about it.
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